The Financial Conduct Authority has taken two individuals and one company to the High Court over alleged links to an unauthorised collective investment scheme thought to have lost investors at least £30m.
In a statement today (November 10) the regulator confirmed it had begun court proceedings against Robin Forster, Fortem Global Limited and Richard Tasker, as part of an investigation into an investment scheme it alleged had raised about £50m to be invested in care homes across the UK.
The FCA claimed Fortem Global Limited had been the main promoter of the schemes, but none of the promotional material has been approved by an authorised person.
According to the regulator, the unauthorised schemes were established and operated by two of Mr Forster’s companies which are currently in administration - Qualia Care Developments Limited and Qualia Care Properties Limited.
Before collapsing into administration, the FCA said the two companies had owned 13 care homes in the north east of England in which they claimed to sell investments in rooms.
The City watchdog said the scheme had collected millions from investors since 2016 and a "number of misleading statements or impressions" were given to potential clients, including unrealistic levels of return of between 8 per cent and 10 per cent a year.
The FCA said the court action was intended to secure injunctions and restitution for investors.
The regulator said: "The FCA alleges that there was never any real prospect that the operation of the care homes could generate profits that could meet those returns.
"Payments of this kind were only ever likely to be possible by taking money from later investors to pay the earlier investors - unsustainable characteristics which are present in ponzi schemes.
"Shortly before placing QCD and QCP into administration, Mr Forster moved £1.8m, substantially all of their funds, into a newly established bank account in the name of Qualia Care Holdings Limited, leaving QCD and QCP without any funds."
The FCA alleged Mr Tasker, the sole director of FGL, was knowingly concerned in the activities of the company.
The watchdog said it did not intend to bring a claim against QCL and did not believe its proceedings should have any impact on the operation of the care homes.