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FCA prosecutes 5 people over alleged £1.2mn investment fraud

FCA prosecutes 5 people over alleged £1.2mn investment fraud
 

The Financial Conduct Authority has prosecuted five individuals for their role in an "all-or-nothing" investment scheme which has allegedly defrauded UK investors of £1.2mn.

It is alleged that between June 2016 and January 2020 Cameron Vickers, Raheel Mirza and Opeyemi Solaja (also known as Opeyemi Olaja) ran a London-based company called Bespoke Markets Group which defrauded £1.2mn from UK investors.

The money, the regulator alleges, was used to fund these individuals’ lifestyles, rather than to fund the binary options investments that were advertised. 

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The FCA described binary options as a “high-risk ‘all-or-nothing' type of investment”, where the investor will attempt to predict whether an event will happen or not. If they win, they’ll see a return, but if they’re wrong, they’ll lose all their investment.

A form of fixed-odds betting, binary options have been banned for retail use since 2019.

They were each charged with offences under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and an offence of conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law. 

In May 2022, Reuben Akpojaro, who also worked at Bespoke Markets Group, was charged with the same offences relating to the scheme. 

The single trial of four defendants will start on February 6, 2023 and is estimated to last for six to eight weeks. 

Last month, a further charge was brought against Raheel Mirza and a fifth individual, Taheer Sardar, for perverting the course of justice relating to the FCA’s investigation.

The FCA alleges that between July 31, 2022 and the October 1, 2022, the two men created a false document to influence the case.

This was adjourned until November 16, 2022 for a plea and trial preparation hearing. 

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com