An investment broker who conned wealthy pensioners out of £372,000 by selling worthless carbon credits was jailed for two-and-a-half years today (15 February).
Joseph Emery, 32, set up the ‘boiler room’ fraud company EM Trade Capital at a plush office in the Tower 42 skyscraper in the City of London.
His sales team repeatedly cold-called victims to persuade them to invest their life savings in carbon credits and rare metals.
When clients tried to withdraw their money or sell the credits they were met with silence and unable to contact Emery.
He was arrested in February 2014 after he moved to another firm and later pleaded guilty to defrauding nine people.
One victim, a retired woman who invested £44,000, told police: “This was money I had saved for my retirement and future. This incident has left me in ill health and without future financial stability.”
Miss Recorder Sasha Wass QC said she had reduced the sentence from four years to 30 months because of Emery’s plea and personal circumstances.
The judge added: “There were nine victims and you took away their savings at a time when they were not in a position to earn any more money.
“You played a leading role and the total loss is £372,922.”
The Old Bailey heard Emery set up the company in late 2011 and carried out the fraud from at least April 2012 until July 2013.
Prosecutor Daniel Benjamin said: “The company functioned as a boiler room.
“There were a number of sales staff who would cold call potential victims to try to sell them carbon credits.
“There was a degree of chasing of customers and customers were send documents relating to the investment.
“Once victims had paid for their investments they either received no further contact or were told they had already made money and offered further investments.
“It seems whenever an investor asked to withdraw money there was silence at the other end and in mid-2013 Emery proved to be uncontactable.”
His nine victims included six retired men and women, a 66 year-old structural engineer and a restaurant owner.
Two of his sales team later gave statements to police.
When he was arrested, Emery told police: “I have been expecting this.”
Emery made no comment in police interview.
The court heard his marriage has broken down and he has been unemployed for the last five months.
Emery, of Chingford, east London, will face a confiscation hearing later this year to recover the money defrauded from victims.