Glasgow Sheriff’s Court: A man’s blackmail platform operator is behind a scheme doomed to fail

Gary Gregg extorted £8,000 from the person who allegedly headed the Ponzi scheme.

During a phone call, the first offender said: “It will all start if you don’t have me next week.

“It’s going up to 10, they boys are up and whatever happens, happens.

“I just want this money back.”

The rig’s 45-year-old Brian Welch also warned the 47-year-old man not to pay.

It turns out that neither of them actually invested in the failed scheme.

It was another overseas mate of Greg’s who lost money instead.

It ended up being arrested for both Gregg and Welch and led to them appearing in the dock at Glasgow Sheriff’s Court.

Gregg, of Kilwinning, Ayrshire pleaded guilty to one count of extortion while Welsh, of Melton, Glasgow, admitted to behaving in a threatening and abusive manner.

The man heading the project sought investors in 2016 for a “short-term, high-return” business opportunity, the court heard.

The promise was that people would be able to double their money after six months.

Among those who invested the cash was Kevin Nicoll, who handed over £40,000.

He knew Greig from work abroad.

But Attorney General Nick Konopati said “no return” was made on the scheme, leaving investors “out of pocket”.

In October 2018, the man behind the failed project received a call from a private number – later identified as Greig.

Mr Greg said Mr Nicol had originally borrowed money from him and could no longer repay him after losing £40,000.

Greg states that the man is now responsible for the debt.

“Greg told the guy that he will be cut off if he doesn’t pay the amount owed,” Konopati said.

The amount demanded was later raised to £8,000.

The man eventually scrambled to get the money before a colleague ran into Greg in a car park near Glasgow Central Station to drop off cash.

“Upon receiving the money, Greg said the case was settled and (the man’s) number had been removed,” said Mr Konopati.

But on Christmas Eve 2018, he then received a call from a Glasgow number later identified as Welsh.

The chief financial officer told the hearing: “During the call Welsh said an additional £2,800 had to be paid.

“He was told that a man would come and describe him.”

This time the man called the police and Welch was arrested at Aberdeen airport in April 2019. Gregg was taken into custody a few weeks later.

Colin McLaughlin, who is defending Greg, said: “He’s a number one offender who’s never bothered.

He had no connection to anyone in the Ponzi scheme other than Mr Nicol, who had made a large investment.

They met each other on business abroad. Mr Nicol owed him £4,500 in debt which was owed.

He was struggling financially, anxious to get the money back and for Mr Nicol to get the money back.

“However, he could not pay because of the money missing in the scheme. This was when Mr. Gregg was involved.”

Welch’s lawyer told the court that his client’s involvement was “foolish”.

Greg was ordered to do 187 hours of unpaid work while Wells would do 75 hours.

Sheriff Jonathan Gay told Gregg: “The threats you made were serious and likely to cause you distress.

“This was very unpleasant and for illegitimate purposes.”

Welch was told that his call was also “unpleasant” and without purpose.

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