Three men have been arrested on suspicion of running a boiler room selling wine investments based in the City.
The arrests took place yesterday (3 August) at a business address in Fleet Street where the suspected boiler room was being run from.
Detectives from the City of London Police’s fraud teams also searched two addresses in Southwark and one in Lewisham.
The investigation began after reports were made to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber reporting service.
So far, 39 victims have made reports to Action Fraud with estimated losses totalling over a million pounds.
Victims were cold called by salespeople claiming they would be able to get between eight and 40 per cent profit on their investments.
In order to get more money from victims they were then told that investors were ready to buy their wine but that to make it more attractive they would need to purchase more wine first.
Detectives have been contacting victims of the company, some of whom were unaware that they were victims of fraud, as the company told them the wine was being kept in storage for them as part of the investment.
Many of the victims are elderly.
City of London Police Detective Inspector Andrew Thompson said: “Boiler rooms continue to be a major threat to individuals in this country and statistics show that those who are over 60 are particularly vulnerable to this type of crime.
“Fraudsters will do everything they can to manipulate potential victims and convince them that they are making genuine investments.
“I would urge anyone who is cold called and offered investment opportunities to put the phone down and always do your research before making financial decisions.
The City of London Police as lead force for fraud proactively targets boiler rooms as part of it work in Operation Broadway.
In 2014 the City of London Police, City of London Corporation Trading Standards, Metropolitan Police, National Trading Standards ‘Scambusters’ Team, HMRC and the Financial Conduct Authority, launched Operation Broadway.
It is a London-wide intelligence-led drive to uncover and disrupt suspected ‘boiler room’ investment frauds operating out of some of the capital’s most iconic buildings in the heart of the UK's main financial districts.
Operation Broadway teams have conducted inspections and disruption raids at over 100 offices in the City and Canary Wharf since its launch.
The City of London Police Fraud Squad takes on many of the UK’s most complex and significant fraud investigations. It includes units dedicated to combating money laundering and recovering the proceeds of crime.
The City of London Police is also home to Action Fraud (National Fraud Reporting Centre) and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which together records and analyses thousands of reports of fraud each week.
It also hosts the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).