Timothy Carron Brown taken to court? But what happened next? (Updated)

(Note for new readers: this story has moved on substantially. Read here and here: Carron Brown was sentenced to two and a half years, of which half was to be served in jail. Now read on.)

Hey, wait, what’s this? A story from the Telegraph from May, brought to my attention by a little bird, about Tim (or Timothy) Carron-Brown (or perhaps Tim Carron Brown; hyphen may be optional). (If you can’t think why I’m on about him, read the background.)

It seemed that the Revenue weren’t impressed:

Timothy Carron Brown, the company director behind the collapsed television production house Iostar and the £43m dotcom disaster Efdex, is due to go on trial for cheating the public revenue and forgery.

The prosecution is being brought by HM Revenue and Customs, and involves four companies of which Carron Brown has been a director, including Omedian, Anstruther Management, Company TV and Second Sight.

Carron Brown was amongst those blamed for the failure of Iostar, the television company which channel Five’s newly appointed chairman and chief executive Dawn Airey briefly joined as chief executive last year.

He has now been charged with 13 offences, including two counts of cheating the public revenue, four counts of being knowingly a party to the carrying on of a business for a fraudulent purpose, six counts of forgery and one count of using a forged instrument.

Carron Brown has not yet been asked to enter a plea, but when contacted by this newspaper he denied the charges. The case has been sent to Bournemouth Crown Court for a hearing on May 28.

Three of the companies involved in the case are either dissolved, in liquidation, or in the process of being struck off the Companies House register.

Called by the paper, Carron Brown denied the charges. But what happened when it came to court? I can’t find anything pinned around Bournemouth (apart from someone with the same surname called Laura who seems to be a hypnotherapist. Any relation, Laura?

And just a little more Carron Brownness: this intriguing article from Marketing Week in 2007, which is unsigned, begins:

From what I can recall of Carron Brown, who was about 24 at the time, he was a preternaturally gifted salesman with the gravitas of someone twice his age. Now that he has reached twice that age, he has been exposed as a bit of a fraud (in the eyes of those who have participated in his financial schemes at least). I hasten to add, because M’Learned Friend is tapping me insistently on the shoulder, that when I say ‘fraud’ I mean – of course – not all he was cracked up to be rather than a criminal fraudster. I have no reason to believe that, in acting unwittingly as the financial author of a series of entrepreneurial disasters, he has actually done anything fraudulent. Simply created a lot of misery.

Yes, I’ll say that as well – I’ve got no evidence he’s a fraud. He simply seems to have repeatedly been involved in companies that didn’t manage to come close to achieving what was promised of them.

Further: he has a LinkedIn profile (giving his location as Dorchester), although he doesn’t seem to have updated his website with any news – we’d have expected something triumphant about seeing off the Inland Revenue by now, wouldn’t we?

Then again, his LinkedIn profile describes him as “not currently open to receiving Introductions or InMail™.” Awww. And I can’t find any web trace of Omedian. Anyone doing better on this one?

And also, what’s happening to Dawn Airey’s lawsuit which I thought she might be taking up?

Update 3 November: Tim Carron Brown – or someone who claimed the name – called me this morning and said there were “errors” in the original story in The Independent in 2000. He seemed to find search engines’ indexing powers not to his liking. He said he would send an email.

I gave my email address. I await developments.


  1. Laura is indeed his wife.
    She is the daughter of the ex Deputy Govenor of the Bank of England Sir Kit McMahon

  2. Laura is not Sir Kit McMahon’s daughter.

  3. I was wondering what happened to the court case as well. Couldn’t find any further reference to it in the local rags.

    As for Omedian according to Companies House it is currently being dissolved.

    Odd to note that Companies house have Tim’s Abode as being in Dorchester while Laura’s being in Ickham Kent. Have they separated???

    Recently read a copy of Crooks & Cronies the publicationj that Tim et AL Sued Peter Teale over. Interesting Reading. Abit over my head.

    Nice to see someone else intersted in his goings on! ( He still owes me 4 months salary – Not that I take this sort of thing personally!)

  4. Laura Carron Brown is Sir Kit McMahon’s step daughter.

  5. The trial is set for 27 May 2009.
    The gallery is sure to be full of his numerous ‘fans’.

  6. While it may seem that a lot of people are snivelling about Tim Carron-Brown, mostly they seem to be ex-employees who had willingly signed on to work for his companies. So what if the business plan did not work or was ahead of its time or was never going to work. At least Tim had the guts to try and the ability to get many of his ideas at least in to launch mode.

    It may be that a lot of the fault is, but surely there are others who share part of the blame – the usual suspects – disingenuous directors,greedy investors will be the first to blame the man in charge.

    If Tim is blessed with one thing, it is a very fine business brain indeed – without it he would never have been in a position to get the backing for the three or four businesses he tried to start in the .com space.

    I am happy to have him as a friend and he is been a very good friend for many years.

    More likely Tim’s friends and family will be ther to support him.

    Piers Diacre

  7. TCB pleaded guilty today at Bournemouth. Details to follow no doubt. Too bad he is not an MP, or he would be straight back to the trough to check that his ducks and moat are in order. As it is, he may find he has some time on his hands.

    Piers is quite correct – Tim did his best. But like so many others, he ended up cutting corners after being deserted by his “colleagues”. He is/was a lousy judge of his business partners for the most part, and (ironically) believed far too much in the value of “reputations”. He ended up surrounded by an array of “once got lucky” one-trick business ponies, who did very little or nothing help – but stood around with their hands in their pockets, waiting to see if the legendary Carron Brown charm would shake a few quid from investors, so they could rush out and spend it.

    If Tim can muster the energy to write a book, it will be a best seller. If only because there are about 15 characters out there (you all know who you are!) who will need to buy up the entire print run and pulp them.

  8. TCB subject to bankruptcy order on 1 June

  9. Bertie carron brown

    Friday 26 June 2009 at 9:54 pm

    First of all i would like to say that i am very proud to call myself Bertie CARRON BROWN, the son of tim carron brown. I stand by him what ever has happened in the past and what ever is to happen in the future. I would like it to be known that my father has taken the fall for alot of cowerdley partners who lapped it up when it was good and stabed him in the back when it went bad. Tim is one of the best personality’s i have had the prividge of knowing, a great business head and eye for a good oppertunity. I also think that it is an obsanity that MP’s that we put our trust in, who we beleive to be capable of running this country have been commiting the the same crime that dad has commited and still can enjoy there duck ponds and new taps nin freedom. I just hope that anybody who reads what the press write about my dad try to look past his mistakes and try to relate to a man desperate to feed and impress three loving sons and a wife.

    Bertram George Carron Brown

  10. I would just like to echo the above words and thoughts from Bertie. I have known Tim for over 30 years and have always found that in times of need you could always rely on Tim to be there if needed. Yes he has made mistakes but who hasn’t? Tim has been a true friend to me and I was proud to have him as my bestman and as Godfather to my youngest daughter. Like this son says how many of our so called MP’s have not been doing the same type of thing with their scams on how to avoid paying captial gains tax when they sold their second houses by FLIPPING. Can I remain you all that people in glass houses should not throw stones.

    AW Currie

  11. Charles

    Saturday 27 June 2009 at 10:49 am

    @Bertie – none of what’s happened is any commentary on what he’s like as a father, and it’s good and fitting that you’re proud of him. It’s not true to say that MPs were committing the same crime, and that wouldn’t excuse anything either: two wrongs don’t make a right, or a reason.

    I hope you can be successful. That’s the best response if you don’t like what’s been written; the reality though is that nobody has pointed to anything in what’s been written that isn’t factual.

    @AW Currie – again, two wrongs don’t make a right. And MPs haven’t been accused of VAT fraud. As to people in glass houses, what do you mean? Are you suggesting that I or other commenters are guilty of VAT fraud? It seems wide of the mark.

  12. No but it would appear that MP’s sould be accused of fraud against the Inland Revenue on captail gains or do you think they have not done anything wrong? I am not suggesting that you or any other commenters are guilty of VAT fruad. I was only suggesting that everyone should look at ones self to see if we are “as pure as the driven snow”.

  13. @ Charles: your paper – the uber-sanctimonious Guardian, with its famous line up of Labour’s fellow travellers and saintly apparatchiks – sees no wrong in its spiritual leaders like Brown and Mandelson cheating the public revenue of not just the odd £trillion, but also the nation’s sovereignty and right to self-determination. I suggest that while Tim catches up on his reading, you now put some time and energy into nailing Mr Big for a change. Perhaps Tim’s problem was that he just didn’t pluck up enough courage to commit a big enough fraud to get himself a peerage, a seat on the privy council and a duck house?

  14. Here here TMP. Well done that man.

  15. Charles

    Sunday 28 June 2009 at 10:34 pm

    @AW Currie (@12) – perhaps you hadn’t noticed that the police are investigating a number of MPs on suspicion of fraud relating to expenses. Well, they are. VAT fraud is serious stuff. Which brings us to..

    @TMP – “uber-sanctimonious”. And the other rubbish. Frankly, you haven’t been reading the Guardian, which puts you in a poor position to criticise it.
    1) The Guardian recently called on Gordon Brown to stand down, in a leader.
    2) The Guardian has been in the forefront of papers revealing the VAT carousel frauds through the EU.
    3) The Guardian has been in the forefront revealing how banks such as Barclays have used tax shelters to avoid paying huge amounts of tax on their transactions.

    Suggesting that Tim Carron Brown should have committed a bigger fraud is pathetic. VAT fraud and tax fraud is money taken from the tax fund. You don’t like Gordon Brown et al? Then vote at the next election. In the meantime, though, it behoves everyone to obey the law. Once more, two wrongs don’t make a right, and if you want to claim the moral high ground, then don’t sanction criminal acts.

    @AW Currie @14 actually, if you want to back this sort of thing, the phrase is “hear, hear”. As in “listen to”.

    And as a final point, this is not the Guardian’s blog; it’s my own personal one, so your comments about the Guardian are irrelevant. I’ve been following what TCB does since my time at The Independent.

  16. @ Charles

    I read the Guardian just about every day, it is an EXCELLENT online paper; easily the best and deserves all the awards it gets. So if that is a benchmark of your ability to make sweeping statements and presumptions, then we are forewarned.

    It is because I follow the Graun very closely that I am able to work out that the rather dodgy conspiracy between Polly, Jackie & Co and the rebel cabinet leavers was probably in an effort to help an insurrection that might just be able to resuscitate the flagging fortunes of the Labour Party, and thus keep hope alive for the considerable revenues that the GMG gets from public sector advertising. No wonder the Graun wants to protect the public revenue collectors – that’s where most of its income seems to come from!

    In many countries of the 3rd world that the Graun covers in such interesting detail, the paper would have been shut down and the journalists would be shot for their parts in such a badly mismanaged coup!

    And please be careful on the sanctimonious tax shelter stuff – http://order-order.com/2009/02/06/tax-justice-protest-against-guardian/ – fairly standard hypocrisy, I think?

    I always vote at every election; and be careful who you accuse of sanctioning criminal acts. It’s just an accident of political opportunism that keeps most of the Labour Party out of jail over their criminally negligent management of public finances and national sovereignty over the past 12 years. The Guardian as Labour’s house journal must also share the blame for misleading the people and allowing Brown to continue unelected whilst ignoring major manifesto commitments. Never mind the way the Iraq war legal advice was manipulated.

    All of which suggests TCB’s crime is a peccadillo rather than an act that deserves a sentence that is probably greater than the majority of first offence crimes of violence and intimidation. In fact, I’m surprised he was not hired by Brown to act a special advisor on enterprise, given that his other choice is now being pursued in an industrial Tribunal – for operating in the manner that his critics (and friends) acknowledge as his “robust” trademark MO – and even fully exposed on prime time TV, for heaven’s sake! However, he does have a lot of cash that Mandelson would probably like in Labour’s war chest; and Tim doesn’t.

    Overall, I suggest you might lighten up, Charles. A mutual acquaintance says you’re actually an OK person, if a little too intense at times, like many journalists still in work…

    @ AWC – you have now had your spelling corrected by a Grauniad staffer. Can there be greater shame?

  17. Charles

    Monday 29 June 2009 at 1:10 pm

    @TMP – if you can put the pieces together on the “dody conspiracy”, please do, and please publish them. I’m sure lots of organisations would be delighted to publish it. Obviously, it might require research rather than opinion, and fact-finding rather than supposition.

    If you’ve been reading the Guardian online, well done – though the paper product is a marvel in its own right and well worth the money. Especially since you seem to think that it has magical properties, such as keeping people in office. I thought it was voters who did that. But maybe you’re used to a different paper that thinks it *can* override voters’ wishes with its own agenda.

    Try replacing your regular physical paper with the Guardian. Just a guess, but is it the Daily Mail? Though the hyperbolic descriptions – I’m surprised you stopped short of saying “NuLabour” – makes me think you’re more of a Telegraph type. Actually, the link to orderorder suggests the latter. Am I right?

    “All of which suggests TCB’s crime was a peccadillo”.

    From the Dorset Echo:

    Investigators found Brown used a number of methods to perpetrate the fraud, including reusing invoices for which he had already reclaimed VAT.

    His other scams included submitting false invoices and records and trading between his own companies to reclaim tax on purchases without accounting for the corresponding sale.

    A £312,000 peccadillo. Nice. Just acknowledge the fact that your friend ripped off the taxpayer – that includes you, don’t forget – significantly. Acknowledge it and move on. He lied and he cheated. That’s the reality.

    Lighten up? I often do. Accusing the organisation I work for of being “sanctimonious” and trying to divert attention from the knowing wrongdoing of a man isn’t the way to get it to happen, though.

  18. @ Charles. Never let the facts spoils a good story; first rule of commercial journalism. 8-)

    > magical properties, such as keeping people in office. I thought it was voters who did that.

    So did we, Charles, so did we. So when just 5% of the registered electors voted for the Labour party at the recent EU election, we the people wondered if the squatter in No 10 would do the decent thing at long last. No such chance, of course. He will apparently now try anything Mandeslon and his back benchers tell him to try – including changing the constitution to try and save his and their sorry hides. He’s given up telling lies like “no more boom and bust” to the rest of us, since he knows that game is up.

    I have long since given up paying to read tomorrow’s chip-wrappers. The Guardian is so far ahead of anything else – especially the moribund and tediously predictable Mail online – that I simply don’t feel the need.

    Did I say Tim was a friend? Did I suggest he was not in any sense “guilty as charged”..? Did I mention how much I lost as a result of his peccadillo..? I didn’t think so. I just take exception at the hypocrisy of those whose persistent direct and proxy raids on the public purse are (for the time being at least) legal and “acceptable”.

    I find it difficult to take you seriously as a journalist claiming integrity when you feel obliged to edit posts on this forum. Especially when they are in specific. response to your preaching on the matter of the Graun’s own dirty washing re:

    3) The Guardian has been in the forefront revealing how banks such as Barclays have used tax shelters to avoid paying huge amounts of tax on their transactions.

    Now can you please explain the GMG’s willingness to avoid its own tax liabilities using offshore constructs squares with its preaching on the matter. You can’t? Well, fancy that… No wonder you saw fit to “redact” my last message to suit your employers’ sensibilities. Or perhaps you now understand that can indeed be two sides to every story..?

  19. Correction…

    out: when you feel obliged to edit posts on this forum.

    in: when you feel obliged to selectively ignore elements in posts on this forum.

  20. Charles

    Monday 29 June 2009 at 3:34 pm

    @TMP – I haven’t edited any comments in this thread. I only do so on any post if I think the comments are libellous, or if they are spam (defined as irrelevant commercial comments whose only aim is SEO). Your comment hasn’t been edited. Sometimes, comments get spamtrapped, but then they don’t appear at all.

    Perhaps you’re just imagining the “redaction”. Well, actually, you must be, because none has occurred.

    I suggest you start a blog. Then we can find out what you do and don’t think of things, rather than indulging in idle trolling.

  21. @Charles – I think the most unnerving comment here was the implication that I am a Torygraph reader. If you fancy your luck as a fearless exposer of evil and wronger of rights, then perhaps you have the nerve and legal insurance to take on the proprietors of that rag? What those tax avoidance expats have tried on in Sark and are still trying on in the House of Lords Appeal due this month is simply breathtaking. Take a look…

  22. So time has finally been called TCB’s antics …and bankrupt for the second time.

  23. Tim is an old friend of mine and of my family. He did not lead an extravagant lifestyle; his son Bertie is correct in stating above: ‘… try to look past his mistakes and try to relate to a man desperate to feed and impress three loving sons and a wife’.

    Charles, I question why you have chosen to focus so much attention on TCB’s plight when VAT fraud has become common and on a much greater scale than that perpetrated by Tim. I can only assume that the British class system is a factor as is the fact that many of TCB’s business initiative’s were grand and involved many well known City and Media folk. I also detect in many of your comments an undertone of pleasure in TCB’s fall.

    Richard Branson’s career began, I believe, with some sort of VAT misdemeanor but he went on to become a major British entrepreneur. Tim’s business initiatives started legitimately (this was confirmed by the judge at his sentencing); he did not set out to defraud HMRC but unfortunately in desparation that was the outcome. Let’s hope that after serving his time he will still have sufficient reserves of optimism and self belief to try once more to create a legitimate business.

    By the way Charles why do you let your blog descend into a forum for labeling yourself and others by the newspapers you read ? No doubt you will be letting me know what paper I read.

  24. Charles

    Saturday 11 July 2009 at 9:52 pm

    @magnus: “I question why you have chosen to focus so much attention on TCB’s plight when VAT fraud has become common and on a much greater scale than that perpetrated by Tim”.

    Has it? Do tell me of a few cases of individuals who have perpetrated bigger VAT frauds. You mean carousel fraud, don’t you – this however isn’t that.

    More generally, my interest in TCB stemmed from the year 2000, when I was at The Independent, and wrote about one of his failed companies. (See this post.) The amazing trail of failed companies that he’s been involved in – which have always seemed to have the very grandest of aims: he’s never tried to run a corner shop; no, it’s always a company that’s going to revolutionise grocery ordering, or TV production – intrigues me. So I’ve tried to keep tabs on it, even if other media haven’t.

    As for the descent into stuff about newspapers – not really ideal, but we are where we are.

  25. having recently left tcb just remember there are many other people in there who have done far more horrendous crimes than him.

  26. Charles

    Tuesday 15 December 2009 at 7:02 pm

    @bill – absolutely, there are. But it’s no mitigation to say people have done worse. Else every accused would say “But look at Hitler! Look at Josef Fritzl! Look at Bernie Madoff! Look at that bloke down the pub who glassed someone!”

    Rule of law has a purpose: it gives people confidence that those they deal with will be held accountable, for good or bad.

  27. “Rule of law has a purpose”

    There’s nowt so sanctemonious as a hack on a mission. Don’t you feel even a teensy bit inclined to compare and contrast TCB finding himself cornered by debt after trying to start businesses (OK so there has been more than a little Walter Mitty going on), with MPs restoring their Bell towers, painting their duck houses and fiddling their mortgages – and then there are all those lovely bankers…?

  28. @TMP – I think the ratio of coverage is about right, don’t you?

  29. Charles: touché. Your personal mission in the matter of TCB is matched only by that of the delighful Telegraph and its surrogate/vicarious determination on behalf its proprietors to undermine Westminster – albeit with the full if unwitting cooperation of the woeful clowns in the Commons and Lords. So if you want a story about people who can make a rather bigger difference to all our lives by carefully targetted individual campaigns of villification, and you are willing to take on those who fight back, then please take a long close look at certain “offshore islanders” and their sustained efforts to establish their own international fiscal jurisdiction. It’s a route more likely to lead to a Pullitzer than TCB.

  30. I had the misfortune of working for TCB in 1994 while he was setting up a company using grants from Highlands and Island Enterprises. The company was called Mondial. I was hired as a secretary/researcher but believe now that it was more to do with his belief that I was a silly little girl with no qualifications and so very unlikely to catch onto his moneymaking scheme.

    I worked with him as he took on more and more staff. He hired and fired on a week to week basis, always hiring from the unemployed sector so as to achieve maximum grants, then when grants ran out he would fire them for pitiful reasons and hire someone else. In the year that I worked with his company he fired 22 staff never getting above 10 staff hired at any one time.

    After the first few months of carrying out “research”, we were concentrating on producing a directory for the transport industry giving them information on the current services available. I might sound slightly vague on this and that is due to the theme of the directory changing regularly making it impossible to reach the finished product. We then, with no end product in sight, were directed to cold call companies and sell them a directory. We had several hundred sales of this directory for which we received cheques and it was around this time that TCB learned that I was going through interviews to join Strathclyde Police. At this revelation, I was promptly fired.

    After leaving the company, I learned that they never reached a finished product, the company went under, only to rise again the very next day, with a whole new set of grants from HIE and a new batch of staff, in the same building but with a different company name. This company went through the same process and then, without reaching a finished product it went under. Surprisingly, TCB was then given a third set of grants for yet another company in the same building, which ended in the same way. He then disappeared, owing several months pay to his staff, never to be seen again in these parts.

    I would say that he was unfortunate maybe for a couple of things which seem to suggest he was underhand in his dealings. Whilst setting up a filing system, I was given several files of paperwork pertaining to another company called Mondial that had previously been set up in England previously. Then TCB told me never to mention his name to anyone when researching or selling the “product”. Then there is the fact that he fired me as soon as he was aware of my ongoing application to Strathclyde Police. The reason given was that I was not being loyal to his company!

    I also find it funny that someone mentioned Sir Kit McMahon. He was a regular telephone caller to TCB at Mondial. He had several “sleeping” partners and I assumed at the time that Sir Kit was one. My assumption only of course.

    I thought that this might be interesting to those that have followed TCB’s business failures. I am interested to learn that TCB has since been convicted of VAT fraud.

  31. A brief thank you to M75 for giving us one real account as an example of the malign effect TCB’s shameful behaviour has had on the lives of hundreds of people over the course of his twenty-five or so year ‘business’ career.

  32. bertie,
    how nice to hear from you
    i will not be able to recover your father’s debts to me for unpaid rent
    however i gave you the benefit of the doubt on your rent and refused to visit the sins of the father on the son
    was my faith misplaced or do you intend to sort out your own debts before i have to take court action

  33. an old friend and ex colleague

    Friday 7 January 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I knew TCB for a few years whe he was starting out on his entrepreneurial career.Having witnessed, close at hand, his over active creative business thinking process I can honestly say that he was motivated by a desperate need for success and recognition in the business world and particularly in the media sphere. He did not set out to be dishonest but as he did not have the finance to set up his own enterprises nor the patience to economize on gains from small business successes, his projects were overambitious and unrealistic.In his race to succeed he may have broken some rules but I must say that I don’t consider him as fundamentally dishonest-rather as impractical and too much of a dreamer.I wish him success in what remains of his working life.He was a kind, brilliant and generous man who, from what I remember,would do anything to protect his family and friends.Good luck Tim . I’m sorry it worked out this way for you.

  34. oh, i consider him utterly dishonest at first hand. he ran a string of initially plausible lies about how he was going to pay his debts than his lies got sillier and sillier. there is no question that he was a bare faced liar in the years leading up to his conviction. these werent just the actions of a man who somehow believed his fanciful businesses would succeed. he clearly already knew what he was doing was illegal. he had, by then, been visited by the boys in blue accompanied by the VAT men and, subsequently, interviewed a number of times under caution but maintained his lies to me in the face of the facts.

    if there is a lesson in this it is that we should at the very least google the names of people we end up doing business with and hopefully anyone thinking of doing business with TCB will find this thread and not fall into the trap so many have.

    i wouldn’t trust him to sell pencils from a cup on the street corner.

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