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Pair sentenced to 19 years for £36m investment fraud

Pair sentenced to 19 years for £36m investment fraud

Two individuals have been sentenced to a total of 19 years in jail for their roles in a £36m boiler room fraud.

Paul Seakens and Luke Ryan were sentenced to 13 years and six years imprisonment respectively at specialist court Prospero House Southwark after being convicted of fraud and money laundering.

The pair were directors of Enviro Associates which sold Voluntary Emission Reduction (VERs) carbon credits to individuals but made false claims about returns.

They targeted the elderly and inexperienced investors, according to the Crown Prosecution Service, which said the carbon credits, which were essentially worthless, were sold to individuals via call centres at “vastly inflated prices” of 200 per cent to 1,000 per cent mark-ups.

The money from the victims was paid directly to the bank accounts of three London clearing companies called CNI, Tocan and Opus, the CPS said.

They were all controlled by Seakens and deducted a commission before being paid back to the boiler rooms.

CPS specialist fraud prosecutors said this was a “money laundering device” which created the impression that payments were being made to a Financial Conduct Authority-regulated third party.

Jane Mitchell, specialist prosecutor for the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, said: “This was a particularly hideous scam operation, where vulnerable victims lost their life savings on so-called investments that had greatly inflated return claims and no resale market.

“In each of these frauds elderly and generally inexperienced investors were targeted. They were cold called in their homes and pressured into buying these so-called investments by criminals who made them look genuine and trustworthy.”

amy.austin@ft.com

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