Ex-adviser faces confiscation hearing

Ex-adviser faces confiscation hearing
(Chris Ratcliffe-Bloomberg)

An investment adviser who laundered more than £2.5mn stolen from pensioners in a cold calling scam will face a confiscation hearing next month.

Richard Faithfull, 32, rinsed the cash and paid it into the fraudsters' bank accounts from his office in Leeds between June 2017 and August 2018.

He fled to Ukraine where he enjoyed a life of luxury with the help of organised crime groups.

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Victims were paid fictional dividends from his bank accounts to disguise the fraud, making the fake investments look like they were profitable.

The money came from seven 'boiler rooms' across the world which convinced 135 victims to invest in bogus companies Choice Option and Blue Crest Capital Option with a sophisticated fraudulent website and slick brochures.

The victims were largely retired, and came from across society, from professions like investment banking, scientific research, and the law.

Some victims lost their homes or had to return to work, while others found their partners and friends no longer trusted them after they discovered they had been scammed.

The scam, which involved 17 con artists, took place between 2015 and 2016.

Faithfull admitted concealing, disguising or converting criminal property and was jailed for five years and 10 months in 2021.

He appeared at Southwark Crown Court via videolink from HMP Wandsworth wearing a grey Puma sweatshirt for a proceeds of crime hearing.

Andrew Bird, prosecuting, said: "We need up to date bank balances rather than production orders."

Bird added that the Crown had been given material from Ukraine which had not been translated.

John Kearney, defending, said: "There have been delays relating to the translation of these documents.

"[Faithfull] told me he sent them to his solicitor in September.

"The last document was sent in November. That was simply a valuation of the property.

"I've chased it and have been told that they will be translated in seven days."

Kearney told the court that, given the current war in Ukraine, the valuation of the property involved in the case would be unclear at the moment.

Faithfull, of Broadstairs, Kent had laundered the proceeds of at least seven overseas investment frauds, investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority and City of London police.

He was sentenced to five years and ten months imprisonment, and disqualified from holding a leading role at a company for 10 years.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, earlier said: 'Faithfull’s actions showed little compassion for those affected by the underlying criminality instead seeking only to make a profit for himself and others.

"The FCA remain committed to ensuring that those who choose to break the law are brought to justice. We remind investors to check the FCA’s register are part of their due diligence when looking to make investments."

Faithfull's confiscation hearing was adjourned until February 13.