Reports to Action Fraud result in jail terms for £1.7 million investment fraudsters

Five men who were part of an investment fraud scam that tricked more than 70 innocent people into handing over a total of £1.7 million have been jailed for a total of 14 years.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service launched an investigation into a company called Taylor & Mills Ltd after reports received from Action Fraud in 2013. Employees of the company were cold-calling people and using aggressive sales tactics in a bid to persuade them to buy green investments known as ‘carbon credits’.

To make the company appear legitimate, professional-looking brochures were produced which even contained a quote from Barack Obama about the importance of green energy. These were sent out to anyone who showed an interest in the scam.

The Metropolitan Police Service subsequently discovered that none of the victims’ money was being used to buy carbon credits, but was instead paid into bank accounts in the name of Taylor & Mills Ltd.

Alan Mill, Dean Hempseed, Paul Thompson, Daniel Forsyth and Aaron Petrou all pleaded guilty and were sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison by the presiding Judge at Southwark Crown Court.

Unrealistic returns promised

One victim recorded a 35-minute telephone conversation in which Hempseed said he could return three times the investment made within four months and convinced the victim to invest £50,000.

Another victim was tricked into investing £700,000 in the scam.

Detective Sergeant Richard Ward from the Complex Fraud Unit said: “This investment scam involved the use of aggressive and persistent sales tactics to exploit vulnerable members of the public. These men were motivated purely by greed and showed a complete disregard for the financial loss and emotional impact on the victims of the scam.”

Last year, victims of investment fraud lost an average of £32,000 as fraudsters employed increasingly advanced psychological tactics to persuade victims to invest.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is urging individuals to check that investment opportunities are genuine before they part with their money. This comes as new research, commissioned as part of the FCA’s ScamSmart campaign, reveals that only 42% of people think they know how to spot a fraudulent investment opportunity.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI Editor, Risk UK Pro-Activ Publications

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