A COSTA del Sol conman ruled his organisation with an iron fist, it has emerged.
Ex-employees of Toni Muldoon, 66, told Ipswich Crown Court about the climate of fear in his offices in Fuengirola and Alhaurin.
One computer programmer, who worked for him, Matthew Jukes told the court that he was a dominant figure, who used ‘aggressive’ and ‘bullying’ tactics to get what he wanted.
He added he could sometimes be critical and rude and often lost his temper.
It has emerged that at least 36 people were working in the large call centre, above the Arts Cafe, in Fuengirola.
One employee Rachel Robinson insisted it would be impossible not to quickly work out that the activity was criminal.
“Office banter and general knowledge would have told them that this was a scam. Anyone working there for longer than a month would know. It ashames me now,” she said. “I hated ripping people off.”
Initially paid in cash, many of employees were later given a so-called ‘white eagle’ card, which was loaded with cash and could be used to withdraw money at cash points.
While Muldoon has already pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to defraud, five people he allegedly employed deny any wrong-doing.
New details of a €6.6 million escort agency and debt elimination scam are emerging from the estimated eight week trial.
The massive court case, which is currently investigating schemes which snared up to 15,000 victims, has shed new light on the former timeshare kingpin.
Those accused in the case are former police detective, Christopher Taylor, 57, Colin Samuels, 61, Mark Bell, 41, and Geraldine French, 60, and Bradley Rogers, 29, who was described by various employees as being Muldoon’s ‘right hand man’.
The gang allegedly conned people into signing up to act as ‘non-sexual’ companions with the promise of earning up to €700 a day.
Clients paid an upfront fee of over €400 but never received any work.
A string of bogus agencies were set up using names such as AdoraBelles, Beautiful Adults and European Escorts.
The upfront fees were then transferred through a network of false companies and the promised ‘dates’ never took place.
The group are also accused of running a ‘debt elimination’ scam in which the targeted people who were ‘financially desperate’.
The court heard how young South African Rogers was Muldoon’s right hand man and the pair shared an office.
Rogers is said to have booked adverts for the bogus escort sites in papers such as the Daily Star and other UK publications.
“I never really gave any thought to Bradley’s role,” explained Jukes. “He seemed like Toni’s right hand in essence.”
The trial continues.