Dance schools named as victims in potential Olympics fraud

TWO dance schools in Kettering and Wellingborough have been named as victims in a potential fraud.

Detectives from Operation Podium arrested a 35-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman this morning (Friday) at addresses in Northampton and East London as part of an ongoing investigation into a potential fraud.

Podium, supported by Northamptonshire Police, started an investigation on May 1 into what appears to be a fraudulent offer, to dance schools in the Northamptonshire area, for their pupils to participate in the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Officers are also investigating approaches to a number of companies across the UK to provide sponsorship. The company police believe to be at the heart of the fraud is called RWB Project, Midlands.

Detectives have visited the principals of the dance schools affected this morning to explain what has happened.

Investigators and local officers will be making attempts to notify and reassure other potential victims.

Detective Superintendent Nick Downing from Operation Podium said: “It is vitally important that at this early stage of the investigation that we alert those parents and children potentially affected and share with them what we know at this time. For many of those affected this will be incredibly disappointing news and will cause concern and sadness.

“Our investigation to date has shown that three dance schools have signed up to what they believed to be participating in the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games. Up to 75 children aged nine to 19 have been rehearsing and planning for this day.

“What we will do is carry out a thorough investigation that establishes exactly what has taken place and provide whatever answers we can to those affected. I would ask anyone who thinks they may have been affected by this to get in contact with us.”

With the permission of the dance schools those affected by this potential fraud are the Dance Factory in Kettering, Sinead Loughnane dance school, Northampton and The Kilburn School of Dance in Wellingborough. All local schools have been made aware of this investigation to help police track down any potential victims.

Chief Superintendent Paul Fell, Territorial Commander for Northamptonshire Police, said: “It is of concern that local people in this county could potentially be involved in such an incident.

“There will be obvious upset with families where young people have been working hard in practising for an event of such importance in which they have been led to believe that they will be involved.

“We will continue to work with colleagues in the Metropolitan Police to ensure that where people may have committed offences they are brought to justice and reassure local people that this will take place.”

The investigation was started after a referral was made to the police by the Olympic organisers - London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. LOCOG have confirmed that the company the two people arrested run is not in any way associated with the Olympic or Paralympic Games.