Cold-call gang jailed for £1.7 million investment scam
A cold-call gang which conned dozens of victims into handing over more than £1.7 million by promoting non-existent investment opportunities have been sentenced today (Mar 6).
The scheme, led by Aaron Petrou, (dob 26/04/1967), and Daniel Forsyth, (dob 01/06/1982), operated from a base in central London and targeted wealthy individuals by offering opportunities to invest in carbon credits.
Following a prosecution by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, four members of the gang were jailed at Southwark Crown Court.
The gang set up a sham company, used false names and sent their victims glossy brochures and professional-looking letters promising substantial returns on their investments which never materialised.
On one occasion a woman transferred the gang £100,000 on the understanding that she would receive back £1.2million but instead the money disappeared. In total the woman invested more than £650,000 with the scammers.
Another member of the gang, Dean Hempseed, (dob 11/05/1981), convinced one man to transfer £50,000 to the sham company through persistent cold-calling while the victimís son was battling a terminal illness. One sales call - requesting a further £50,000 - was made shortly after the victim had attended his sonís funeral, with Hempseed offering condolences during the 'pitch'.
Julie Snell, from the CPS, said: "These men deliberately and persistently targeted their victims using a variety of underhand techniques to encourage them to part with their money, causing intense financial hardship.
"The prosecution team built a case which clearly demonstrated the role played by each of the defendants and resulted in guilty pleas."
Notes to Editors
- Julie Snell is a Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS Specialist Fraud Division
- Carbon credits are permits which allow organisations to produce a certain amount of carbon emissions. They can be traded if the full allowance is not used but there is little, if any, secondary market for private investors to profit from them.
- The sentences passed today at Southwark Crown Court were:
- Aaron Petrou, (dob 26/04/1967), admitted conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced to three years, eight months.
- Daniel Forsyth, (dob 01/06/1982), admitted conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced to four years, four months.
- Dean Hempseed, (dob 11/05/1981), admitted conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced to five years.
- Alan Mill, (dob 15/09/1952), admitted money laundering and was sentenced to 16 months.
- Paul Thomson, (dob 15/04/1987), admitted concealing criminal property and was sentenced to three months suspended for 12 months with 150 hours community service.
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