Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting KS NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Kidderminster business duo were 'ripping off students' jury told
3:37pm Tuesday 10th September 2013 in News
A HUSBAND-and-wife team set up a training business which fleeced overseas students out of thousands of pounds each by offering fake and substandard courses, a jury heard.
Anthony and Carol Grice ran both Transnational Services GBP Ltd and The Healthcare Training Academy Ltd from offices in Church Street, Kidderminster.
They face 10 charges dating between January, 2005 and November, 2009, including three of fraudulent trading and three of claiming their courses were accredited by organisations including City and Guilds, Edexcel, and CIEH, when they were not.
They also deny offering NVQ level four courses without being licensed to do so, failing to inform students their NVQ courses were not City and Guilds accredited, not carrying out the proper assessments and not telling students that the academy was not licensed by the UK Border Agency - which rendered their visas useless.
Prosecutor Nicholas Cartwright said the academy provided training courses in health and social care and hotel and catering industry management, largely aimed at students from the Philippines.
The students - who were often supported by sponsors back home - paid, on average, £2,750 per course.
"These two were ripping off students by selling academic courses that they could not fulfill," Mr Cartwright told the Worcester Crown Court jury.
"They were duped into handing over their money for nothing or for something which fell short of what they thought they would get.
"If selling someone something and not delivering what they have paid for isn't fraudulent trading, I ask you what is."
He told the court a number of complaints had been made to both the Citizens Advice Bureau and Trading Standards by students and their sponsors, who realised something was wrong.
Mrs Grice was "rude" and "arrogant" when dealing with complaints, he added, trying to shift the blame for any failure on to the students themselves.
A rule change in 2009 meant all academic institutions offering courses to overseas students had to be registered with ASIC, part of the Border Agency.
The court heard, however, the Grices' academy repeatedly failed to get a licence as they did not meet the minimum requirement for hours spent in the classroom.
Mr Cartwright said they did not tell their students about this and continued to accept money from students but, without this licence, the students were left high and dry and unable to get into the UK.
The court heard, despite requests, no refunds were given.
Mr Grice, 67, of Lea Croft, Bristol, and Mrs Grice, 57, of Strode Road, Cleveland, North Somerset, are still married but estranged.
The trial continues.