Four fraudsters jailed for £13.7 million investment scam
Four fraudsters have been imprisoned today (26 July 2022) for a mass investment fraud worth over £13.7 million.
Mohammad Noman Tanveer, 34, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to money launder. Florian Pierini, 35, and Mohommed Hussain, 31, were convicted of conspiracy to money launder. Jeffrey Razaq, 61, was convicted of a money laundering offence. They were sentenced to a total of nearly 15 years in prison or on licence.
The defendants were part of a “boiler room” investment fraud scheme where a company was set up expressly as a vehicle for this scam. They persuaded victims to invest into a fund said to generate income through buying, upgrading and selling residential properties through a company called Essex and London Properties (ELP). The company however did not own the properties, many of which were not even on the market.
The prosecution case and Essex police investigation uncovered that more than 800 people had invested in this bogus scheme. Victims made payments that ranged from £5,000 to £140,000 to ELP.
ELP claimed to have bought properties along the Crossrail route running from London to Essex which would then be refurbished and re-sold at a profit. The prosecution team, however, discovered that only one property was ever bought.
The defendants received significant amounts of money for their roles in this fraud totalling nearly £1.5 million. Tanveer, an original director of ELP, received payments totalling £137,458.95. Pierini ran companies that were used to launder money obtained by fraud, with payments totalling £538,596.72 being paid into accounts controlled by him. Similarly, Hussain ran a business that was used to launder £317,137.61. Razaq was not involved directly in the operation of the fraud but he received payments totalling £110,407.38 for which no legitimate explanation was provided.
Jonathan Kelleher of the CPS said: “This was a callous and cruel investment fraud which duped around 800 victims into thinking they were buying into a legitimate property scheme. Many of them were elderly and vulnerable. The scheme proved to be a scam, designed only to defraud victims of their life savings.
“The fraudsters presented themselves in a credible way and secured the trust of many victims. The only people to benefit from the schemes were the fraudsters themselves and those who assisted them in laundering the proceeds of their crimes.
“I would like to thank the many victims who supported this prosecution, witnesses who assisted in bringing the case to justice, the hard-working Essex Police team who investigated these defendants and their criminal enterprise and counsel who prosecuted at trial.
“The CPS has commenced proceedings to recover the proceeds of crime. Any money recovered will be used to compensate the victims of these crimes.”
The CPS prosecutes all types of fraud including investment fraud. This type of fraud occurs when fraudsters deceive victims to invest based on false information. Often, as in this case, there is little or no real investment opportunity and the whole enterprise is fraudulent.
Whatever the type of investment fraud, the CPS is here to deliver justice for victims where the evidence and public interest supports a prosecution.
Notes to editors
- Jonathan Kelleher is the Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS Serious Economic Organised and International Directorate (SEOCID)
- SEOCID was launched on 1 April 2022 and is the CPS’s response to the changing nature of crime by bringing together specialists in organised and economic crime as the lines in this criminality is being blurred even more.
- Mohammad Noman Tanveer (DOB: 13.07.1988) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering related offences and sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment: prison for 2.5 years and the rest served on licence.
- Florian Pierini (DOB: 05.01.1987) was convicted for conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering related offences and sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment and disqualification from being a company director for 5 years.
- Jeffrey Razaq (DOB: 04.04.1961) was convicted for conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering related offences and sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and 200 hours unpaid work.
- Mohommed Hussain (DOB: 10.12.1990) was convicted for conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering related offences and sentenced to 4.5 years' imprisonment: half that time on prison and the rest on license. Also disqualified from being a company director for 5 years.