Five men have been jailed after a criminal prosecution by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for a total of nearly 18 years for their involvement in a complex boiler room scam that resulted in £2.8 million losses.
The five men were sentenced by Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday for duping more than 170 victims into making fraudulent investments. The trial judge, said that “some victims lost everything they had” and added that elderly people had been specifically targeted. Their stories “were at times positively heart-breaking.”
The men were working in a London based boiler room where they used cold-calling and high-pressure sales tactics to sell worthless and overpriced investments to the public.
Between July 2010 and April 2014, the fraudsters persuaded victims to purchase shares in a company that owned land on the island of Madeira.
The investors were told that the value of the shares would increase substantially when permission to build 20 villas was granted, thereby enhancing the land’s value. Investors were promised guaranteed returns of between 125% and 228%. Of course, none were ever paid.
Commenting on the case, Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “These fraudsters callously targeted investors who were often elderly and vulnerable, lying to them to get them to part with significant sums of money.
“Despite efforts to conceal and destroy evidence, the FCA, in one of its largest ever investigations, was able to ensure that these criminals faced justice and ended up behind bars.