Commodities 

Beckham's ex brother-in-law guilty of conning investors

Beckham's ex brother-in-law guilty of conning investors

David Beckham's former brother-in-law is facing jail for using his links to the football superstar to fleece investors out of nearly £1m.

Darren Flood, 39, who was married to Victoria Beckham's sister Louise Adams, was involved in a boiler room scam which tricked pensioners into making 'worthless' investments.

Flood was a director of The Commodities Link which focused on 'high net worth clients' and discussed potential targets including former Chelsea footballer Joe Cole's father.

Staff 'made great play on Flood being Mr Beckham's brother-in-law to win the trust of investors, Kingston Crown Court heard.

Victims were encouraged to buy 'rare earth' substances, which are mainly used to make tech products, with the promise of big profits.

Stephen Shay, prosecuting, said they invested more than £800,000 between April 2012 and August 2014 - but the materials had no resale value.

He explained: "This case concerns the fraudulent mis-selling of rare earth elements i.e rare earth metals and or rare earth oxides through the company called The Commodities Link (TCL).

"The Crown's case is that TCL was a typical boiler room enterprise, set up with the purpose of inducing unsuspecting members of the public to invest in rare earths.

"TCL made representations about the suitability of rare earths as an investment over the telephone and in brochures.

"These representations were false. They focused on historical publicity from 2010 to 2011 to the effect that the main supplier of rare earths, China, had restricted global exports, causing a spike in prices.

"TCL sold investors baskets of rare earth which consisted of a selection of different rare earth oxides, usually weighing one or two kilograms in one instance 150kg. The representation that oxides could be re-sold in this format was false.

"There is no re-sale market for rare earths in this format or quantity."

Flood established two Coutts bank accounts for the company using his business connections.

He was a director for TCL while Gennaro Fiorentino, 38, was described as the Principle and Jonathan Docker, 32, was a sales floor manager.

Flood was tasked with targeting potential high net worth investors, who paid up to 200 times over the odds for baskets of materials.

Mr Shay said company salesman Paul Muldoon, 34, used the false name Paul Roberts to con tens of thousands of pounds from victims.

One investor, Peter John Harris, told the trial he was cold-called by a man called Paul Roberts who talked up the link to Mr Beckham.

Mr Harris, who lost £100,000 in the scheme, said the salesman used his family link to Mr Beckham to give him 'confidence' in the company.

Another victim, Mavis Wright, was wined and dined by Muldoon who convinced her to hand over £41,000 using the name Paul Roberts.

"I had no idea whatsoever that this was a scam," she said.

The Commodities Link was wound up by the High Court on 29 August 2014.

Muldoon admitted fraud by false representation at an earlier hearing.