A former investment adviser has been sentenced to five years and ten months in prison for money laundering as part of an organised crime group.
Richard Faithfull was convicted of laundering £2.5m as part of a trans-national crime group over a period of at least 12 months.
He was also disqualified from being a company director for a period of 10 years after the FCA found he had laundered the proceeds of at least seven professionally run overseas investment frauds.
In a statement released today (September 9), the Financial Conduct Authority said Faithfull was able to use the knowledge gained from working as a regulated investment adviser to help the fraudsters defraud their victims.
The victims were tricked into believing their investments were generating returns by fictional 'dividend' payments from bank accounts controlled by Faithfull.
“He also involved innocent parties to help assist with his criminal enterprise,” the FCA added.
“The operation was sophisticated, utilising multiple accounts and front companies in numerous jurisdictions.”
To avoid detection, Faithfull relocated to Ukraine where the FCA said he lived “a life of luxury” whilst continuing his criminal activities and enlisting the assistance of local criminal groups abroad.
Following his arrest, he “spun a web of lies to try and throw the FCA off the case” but at his hearing he admitted he was a “thoroughly dishonest person”, the regulator added.
Faithfull had previously pleaded guilty to the money laundering offence on April 16 this year, and put forward a basis of plea that sought to minimise his role in the offending, however the FCA did not accept this.
The matter was therefore listed for a Newton hearing (used when two sides offer such conflicting evidence that a judge sitting alone tries to ascertain the truth), to determine the basis upon which he should be sentenced.
Following a four-day hearing the judge rejected the submissions made by Faithfull’s team and accepted the FCA’s statement of the case.
The sentencing judge said this was “serious offending” which was linked to the “human misery caused by boiler room fraud” and that “money coming in [to accounts controlled by Faithfull] was not being invested, it was simply being slaughtered”.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, 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.
He added: “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 as part of their due diligence when looking to make investments.”
The FCA will now pursue confiscation proceedings against him in order to try and seize his illegal gains.
Faithfull is also to be sentenced separately regarding an Essex firearms offence.