Five men have been sentenced for helping to launder over £1.2 million through bank accounts they opened for a boiler room scam.
The group used mainly cold calling to target around 180 victims, who believed they were investing in gold and broadcast airtime, and would get back their investment as well as a profit.
The victims, who were mostly elderly, paid their money into bank accounts the fraudsters had set up for fake businesses.
Once the money was deposited into the accounts, the fraudsters withdrew the cash or transferred it overseas to an accomplice Paul Ward, who was based in Cyprus at the time.
Ward has since been repatriated to the UK under a European Arrest Warrant and was sentenced to 13 years.
Jamie Wilkinson, Jordan Spruce, Kyle Welch, Steven Addo, and Daniel Silver, were all found guilty of money laundering conspiracy to defraud, and also sentenced to prison.
“Each of the men had opened bank accounts for fake businesses and were the sole signatory. For example, Wilkinson opened a bank account for an alleged solar panel installation company, while Welch opened an account for an alleged bespoke furniture company,” the police explained.
City of London Police said its Asset Recovery Team has now commenced confiscation proceedings into all five defendants ‘to ensure those involved do not benefit from the proceeds of crime.’
Detective Constable Barry Ryan, who led the investigation for the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, said: “These unsuspecting victims lost thousands of pounds after being tricked into thinking they were making legitimate investments. It’s vital that people are aware of investment fraud and never take up offers of investments on the spot from cold calls.
“This should act as a warning to any other people who are thinking of allowing their account to be used for criminal activity in order to make some extra money – money laundering is a serious offence and one which could see you go to jail.”
Ryan also thanked a journalist from BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme who first alerted the police about the investigation.