The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has urged members of the public who invested in unauthorised collective investment schemes to get in touch as they may be eligible to get some of their money back.
Between 2005 and 2010, approximately 870 members of the public invested approximately £32.8m in unauthorised collective investment schemes established and operated by Countrywide Land Holdings Limited, James Kenneth Maynard (trading as Regional Land and Countrywide Land Holdings Limited) and Stephen Ronald Watkins (trading as Consolidated Land UK Limited).
These schemes involved the unlawful selling of plots of land.
Following High Court cases in which the unauthorised businesses were ordered to repay investors, the FCA has received approximately £2.5m from a related Panamanian company Paradigm Consultancy SA, which it intends to return to eligible investors.
To date, only 392 out of approximately 870 possible investors have contacted the FCA.
The FCA urges investors who think they might have invested, or might recall family members investing in these schemes, to get in contact.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: "If you believe you were an investor in one of these unauthorised schemes, please get in contact with us.
"We will work to resolve this matter and return funds to eligible investors as soon as is possible but we need to demonstrate to the court that we have taken reasonable steps to identify everyone affected."
Investors who have not yet contacted the FCA, should do so even if they no longer have records or documentation relating to the investments.
In the first instance, they should email email@example.com or write to the FCA at Freepost RTZE–RHAL–URAJ, for the attention of UBD RC RE00654, Financial Conduct Authority, 12 Endeavour Square, London E20 1JN.