Off-the-page reseller Curtis Maclean duped users out of #750,000, the Old Bailey heard last week. Maclean faces four charges of fraud relating to orders and payment he received for PC hardware which the prosecution alleges he knew he could not supply. Trading first as Vogue, set up in 1992, and later as WDS, set up in 1993 after Vogue ran up debts of #1 million with Next, Maclean placed adverts in magazines for PCs and took credit card payments. Prosecutor Simon Wild told the jury that Maclean should never have taken orders for the computers knowing that with small cheques ?bouncing left right and centre?, he was so deep in debt that he had no way of paying suppliers. Despite this the prosecutor alleged Maclean signed a #500,000 contract with Singaporean manufacturer Wearnes and set up a massive advertising campaign in computer trade magazines which he never paid for. Wild said: ?He had lots of orders for computers but no letter of credit. This did not discourage him from taking orders and hiring extra staff to handle them.? Maclean denies the charges, but the start of the trial was greeted with joy by some vendors. Martin Smith, European licensing manager at Novell, said Maclean had also been implicated in selling pirated software. He said: ?This has been going on a long time. We are pleased he has come to trial and await the verdict with interest.? Detective Superintendent Douglas of Hertfordshire Constabulary oversaw the investigation, but was unavailable for comment. When WDS started trading it was already being strangled by Vogue?s huge debt. ?WDS got itself into unsolvable trading difficulties,? Wild told the jury. Maclean has pleaded not guilty to knowingly running Vogue and WDS for fraudulent purposes with the intent of defrauding creditors.
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