InvestmentsMay 18 2023

FCA secures £130k to return to Ucis investors

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FCA secures £130k to return to Ucis investors
(Pexels/Alaur Rahman)

The Financial Conduct Authority has secured two orders to return more than £130,000 to victims of unauthorised investment arrangements and advice.

Members of the public who invested in an unauthorised collective investment scheme established and operated by Synergy Land Group Limited between late 2009 and May 2011 will now receive money back after the High Court granted a distribution order to the FCA.  

The FCA has recovered approximately £27,000 after Samuel Exall, Synergy’s director, was ordered to sell assets. This will now be distributed to the Synergy investors.  

Exall was sentenced to four years in prison in October 2016 for his part in running an unauthorised land banking investment scheme.

He was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud in 2016 after raising £3mn from members of the public as part of an unauthorised collective investment scheme. 

In an update in October 2020, the FCA said it had recovered funds from assets Exall was forced to sell, although it specified eligible investors would only receive a "small sum".

The regulator urged victims who invested in the unauthorised scheme to contact the FCA, even if they no longer had any documentation relating to the investment. 

In today’s update (May 18), the FCA said anyone who invested in the Synergy scheme and has not been in contact with the regulator or been notified that a payment will be made to them should make contact by July 17, 2023 at  

Separately, the FCA has also secured permission from the court to distribute funds obtained from Mohammed Maricar, sole director of 24HR Trading Academy Ltd. 

In March 2021, the High Court fined the boss of trading firm 24HR Trading Academy for unlawfully advising on investments via WhatsApp messages.

The court found 24HR Trading unlawfully provided trading signals to consumers via WhatsApp for a fee. These signals also included recommendations about CFDs relating to currencies and commodities. 

In September 2022, the FCA received payment of £106,650.58, from the Official Receiver, who was appointed over Maricar’s bankruptcy estate. The sum will now be distributed among investors.   

The FCA has taken an approach to ensure as much money is recovered for investors as possible. 

With this process now complete, the FCA said it does not expect further funds to be recovered. 

Therese Chambers, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “Tackling financial crime and securing redress for victims is a priority for us. 

“Consumers should always check our register and be very wary of unauthorised firms, as they present a very high risk with no guarantee of compensation if things go wrong. Often funds invested are completely lost.”