Scams  

Investment scammer jailed after failing to return proceeds

Investment scammer jailed after failing to return proceeds
(EPA/ANDY RAIN)

A convicted fraudster who mislead investors out of £72.5mn has been jailed after failing to pay his confiscation order.

At the City of London Magistrates’ Court on Friday (May 27), Michael Strubel was imprisoned for six years and seven months after he failed to pay back money made in a £72.5mn scam.

The Serious Fraud Office revealed back in 2015 that Strubel, alongside Jolan Saunders and Spencer Steinberg, sought investment in a company by exaggerating their electrical supply contracts in the hotel industry and lying about a non-existent contract to supply the Olympic village in the London 2012 Olympics.

The group then used the money to buy themselves luxury cards, motorbikes, and expensive property.

The Serious Fraud Office later uncovered that Strubel had also hidden his fraudulently obtained assets in loans and investments, including £255,500 that investigators found he had invested in wine. 

In 2019, the court ordered Strubel to repay £2mn, of which £1.4mn of this remains outstanding.

As a result of Stubel failing to adequately pay back this money, the SFO referred the matter to court.

Committing Strubel to prison last week, District Judge Louisa Ciecióra said his continued failure to pay the order “looks an awful lot like at best culpable negligence but at worst wilful refusal”. 

Emma Luxton, head of proceeds of crime and international assistance at the SFO, said: “We won’t let fraudsters refuse to make amends for their crimes. 

“The SFO has relentlessly pursued the recovery of criminal funds from Mr Strubel since his conviction in 2016. 

“[This] outcome sends a message to others who are found guilty of fraud that they will be held accountable for their crimes.”

In 2015 Saunders pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud and one count of acting as a director of a company whilst disqualified, and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Strubel and Steinberg were both tried and found guilty by a jury in February 2013, and were sentenced to seven years and six years and nine months respectively for conspiracy to defraud investors in an alleged investment fraud.

sally.hickey@ft.com