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FCA urges victims of illegal investment scheme to come forward

FCA urges victims of illegal investment scheme to come forward

The Financial Conduct Authority is urging victims of an illegal investment scheme to come forward and claim compensation, as it secured asset confiscation orders against six individuals who have been convicted of criminal charges in relation to the scheme.

At a court hearing at Southwark Crown Court, six individuals were convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment totalling more than 28 years following the FCA’s largest fraud prosecution.

Investors had lost more than £2.8m in a share fraud carried out through a series of boiler room companies.

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However, the court has now made confiscation orders against Michael Nascimento in the sum of £976, 508, as well as Charanjit Sandhu in the sum of £391,680, Stuart Rea in the sum of £46,183, Ryan Parker in the sum of £345,775, Jeannine Lewis in the sum of £105,538 and Hugh Edwards in the nominal sum of £1 as he has no available assets to meet any order. 

The court also ordered these amounts be paid as compensation to the victims of the illegal investment scheme.

The FCA said it has carried out extensive inquiries to identify all victims and has been in contact with all except about 20 individuals. 

It is now making a final call for the remaining victims to come forward.

Between July 2010 and April 2014, members of the public were cold-called and subjected to high pressure sales tactics to persuade them to purchase shares in a company that owned land on the island of Madeira. 

The investors were told that the value of the shares would increase substantially when permission to build 20 villas was granted, thereby enhancing the land’s value. 

Investors were promised guaranteed returns of between 125 per cent and 228 per cent, however, none were ever paid. 

In August 2018, Michael Nascimento was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment and labelled the “controlling mind, instigator and the main beneficiary of the fraud”.

Investors’ money was used to maintain the fraud and particularly to fund the lifestyle of Nascimento, according to the regulator.

It said investors lost life-changing sums, with many being elderly or vulnerable.

The shares in the illegal scheme were sold through a number of companies: Morgan Forbes (UK) Ltd; Acropolis SGPS; Amber Crest Investments; Paragon Private Wealth; Ocean Peak International; First Capital Wealth Limited; Bishops of Mayfair Ltd; Walberg Dillion Reid Ltd; Sterling Capital Corporation Ltd.

The City-watchdog said if investors have not been contacted about the scheme by the FCA already and bought shares issued in one or more of the following names - Pearl Island International LLC; Paragon Private Wealth LLC; Berkeley Brookes LLC; Atlantic Equity LLC – they should contact the FCA with details of their investment by July 16, 2021.

sonia.rach@ft.com

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