Financial Conduct Authority  

Fraudster guilty of running illegal investment scheme

Fraudster guilty of running illegal investment scheme

A fraudster has been sentenced to two years in prison for illegally operating an unauthorised and "spectacularly unsuccessful" investment scheme worth over half a million pounds.

At a sentencing at Southwark Crown Court yesterday (February 4) Manraj Virdee received a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid community work.

In a case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority, Mr Virdee pleaded guilty to four charges relating to misleading consumers, fraud and the illegal operation of an unauthorised investment scheme.

As the sole director of Dynamic UK Trades Ltd, Mr Virdee mainly targeted his wider family and associates with an unauthorised deposit taking scheme between October 2015 and November 2017.

He also entered into an agreement with one investor to manage £192,500 in spread betting trading, in which only £10,000 was used as promised.  

In total Mr Virdee received approximately £600,000 in funds, with some investors "guaranteed" returns of up to 100 per cent based on his "claimed success as a currency trader".  

Only £457,119 of these deposits was actually traded by Mr Virdee and almost all was reportedly lost or used to fund his lifestyle. 

In sentencing Mr Virdee, HHJ Pegden QC agreed with the prosecution’s description that his trading over the two year period was "spectacularly unsuccessful".

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: "The FCA’s prompt action nipped Mr Virdee’s fraud in the bud and stopped it becoming inevitably bigger, causing greater loss to a wider group of victims.

"The FCA reminds investors to beware of anyone who is not authorised to carry out the activities they are offering."

rachel.addison@ft.com