Eight jailed in £700k boiler room fraud

An eight-strong gang of investment fraudsters who conned 73 people out of £700,000 have been jailed for up to six years at Southwark Crown Court.

Between November 2009 and August 2010 the eight people assisted in the running of a boiler room which offered stock market shares at discounted prices and sought-after shares that were not actually available to buy by the general public.

The gang worked for a boiler room that used the names of genuine European companies to fool investors into buying shares that did not exist.

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The victims were led to believe that these were legitimate firms based in the UK approved by the Financial Services Authority at the time.

In reality, according to the City of London police, they were making payments to fraudulent companies with the money being laundered through UK bank accounts that had been set up by the gang.

Levi Coyle, aged 33 and of no fixed abode, received the highest sentence of six years. He was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

Mr Coyle would collect the money from the gang members and send it to unidentified persons who ran the boiler room. His whereabouts are currently unknown after he breached his bail conditions.

The other seven were all sentenced for money laundering offences. Mark Norman, aged 43, of Colchester was sentenced to three years; Michael Barrett, aged 25, of Colchester, was sentenced to two years and eight months; Ashley Chilvers, aged 27, of Romford,, was sentenced to 18 months and Simon Stephens, aged 37, no fixed abode, was sentenced to 12 months.

Carl Guy, aged 32, of Colchester, was sentenced to ten months, suspended for two years and 120 hours of unpaid work; Elizabeth Finn, aged 28, of Ware, received a 12 month sentence suspended for two years and 150 hours unpaid work; and Andrew Sutton, of Hertfordshire, was sentenced to eight months suspended for two years and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Detective Constable Abdun Noor, said: “The boiler room could not have operated without this group of people willingly laundering innocent victims money.

“The boiler room went to great lengths to make their victims believe that these companies were genuine so they could sell more shares. It is possible there are further victims of this fraud who have not yet been identified.”