A key worker who begged for cash to do up his new home has taken down his fundraising appeal – after it emerged he is a convicted fraudster.
Shameless Adam Stark set up a GoFundMe profile asking for donations to makeover the property that he says he bought with fiancee Ali Jennings.
The appeal was slammed after his previous conviction came to light, and today he admitted his fundraising drive had been “cheeky”.
The couple moved into their home in Burton, Staffordshire, at the beginning of the year after purchasing the property at Christmas time.
But the page, listed by Adam Stark, doesn’t mention his role in a dangerous £500,000 “cash for crash” scam across Derbyshire back in 2017.
Mr Stark was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud.
Today, the 31-year-old – now a key worker delivering medical supplies to hospitals – told StaffordshireLive he had turned his life around.
He said: “I’d put the conviction behind me. I’ve made a mistake. I’m not proud of it, but now it’s in the past.
“I’m open about it and have nothing to hide. It happened when I fell in with a bad group of people.
“Now I’ve done my time and it’s behind me. If asked, I wouldn’t lie about it. It was a bad point in my life and it’s changed me and made me a better person.
“I’m now settled down and have a job helping people. It’s a new chapter in my life and my conviction’s no longer relevant to me.
“But it seems you just can’t seem to shake off things that have happened in the past and mistakes you’ve made.
“I’ve taken my punishment for it and everyone deserves a second chance in life.
“I’d now ask people to allow me to move on with my life.”
After a backlash which saw dozens of Facebook users slamming the GoFundMe page Mr Stark confirmed he had taken it down.
He said: “I accept that was a bit cheeky. Sometimes you can be a bit cheeky and sometimes you can’t.
“On this occasion, it didn’t work out. It’s been removed due to abuse that’s been received.
“The reaction’s been over the top. If it was this time last year, it would’ve been a different story.
“People were saying NHS workers deserve more than they get and there were fund-raising campaigns everywhere.
“I’m not saying I’m entitled and, granted, it was a bit cheeky asking.
“It was an idea suggested by a friend and I thought ‘why not?’. There have been a lot of fund-raisers for NHS workers, so why not give it a go myself and see if we can get some help?
“I regret setting up the appeal in hindsight. We weren’t expecting to be attacked over it. People have just thrown abuse around.”
Investigators at the time described the gang as being willing to put the lives of innocent motorists at risk for profit.
The 12-strong gang engineered 41 vehicle collisions, then would fraudulently claimed for non-existent injuries, damage and storage costs.
The gang, including Stark, were ordered to pay back more than £37,000 between from their ill-gotten gains they pocketed from targeting lone or elderly motorists.
They carried out the ruse by having a lead car “swerve violently” causing the second car to brake suddenly and the target vehicle to crash in to the back of it, according to Derbyshire Live’s report of their sentencing.
The insurance firm of the target car would then pay out the scammer, often working under a stolen or false name, for personal injuries, damage and for costs for storage.
The group were all sentenced to jail terms over the offending.
Stark, then 27, denied conspiracy to commit fraud, but was found guilty after a trial.
He was sentenced to four years and nine months behind bars and ordered to pay back £2,434.59.
In his GoFundMe listing, Stark says the house was previously owned by an elderly man and had not been updated for 20 or 30 years.
The page asks for money from the public to help transform their home and have set up a GoFundMe page.
It also asks if anyone is getting rid of a kitchen or bathroom that is still in good condition or tradespeople who could donate a day or the time to get in touch.
Adam, who told StaffordshireLive he works as a lorry driver delivering medical supplies to NHS hospitals and treatment centres, said: “I know with everything that is going on that there’s a lot of support for key workers at the moment and it was suggested to me by a friend to do this and I thought why not.
“I can do a lot of the work myself but I will have to get other people in. It’s the bathroom and kitchen that mainly need doing. We want them redoing completely but we don’t mind if it is second-hand stuff.
“I believe the house did belong to an elderly gentleman and it has not been touched for 20 to 30 plus years. It’s all very old and needs updating.
“We moved here as the area is beautiful, it’s a lovely house, a lovely street and a lovely community. The house has not been neglected, it just needs updating.
“We saw the potential this house had and thought we could make it our family home. We saw a lot of houses in different areas and thought this was the right one.
“If people were to donate things to the house or if tradespeople don’t have money but want to donate a day off to help us that would be amazing. We’d appreciate anything like that.
“We’d appreciate any help we can get. We don’t expect to get the whole house done for free but a little bit of help would be amazing.”
Adam and Ali, who is reportedly a technician at SpaMedica in Wolverhampton treating NHS patients, moved into her mum’s not long after meeting, and the couple are now engaged.
The Mirror does not suggest Ali Jennings had any knowledge or involvement in Stark’s prior criminal conviction.
The GoFundMe page, which had been live for three days and raised £10 toward the couple’s £2,500 goal.
On Monday a notice placed on it reads “this fundraiser is no longer accepting donations. If you are the organiser, beneficiary, a team member or donor, sign in for further details”.