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Major investment fraudster ordered to pay compensation for ill-gotten gains

|News, Fraud and economic crime

An investment fraudster who scammed people across the country has been ordered to pay £391,680 – and faces four years extra in prison if he fails to pay.

Photo of Charanjit Sandhu
Charanjit Sandhu

Charanjit Sandhu, 31, pleaded guilty to running a number of scams in different parts of the country, conning people out of £1,704,564.

Much of the money obtained through these frauds were spent on his lavish lifestyle. There is evidence of spending on luxury holiday villa rental, watches and jewellery, designer clothing and over £9,000 of dental work.

The CPS through its comprehensive proceeds of crime work, in conjunction with the investigation bodies, particularly Thames Valley Police and City of London Police, secured a Confiscation Order for the defendant to pay back all of his available assets.

The available assets figures were determined by the Judge to be £391,680. Notable known available assets included a rose gold Patek Phillipe watch valued at £72,000, Audemars Piguet watch valued at £22,000, and a Rolex watch valued at £4,000. The defendant attempted to stash some of his assets away but the CPS and investigation teams uncovered hidden assets of £200,000 which he now has to pay back as part of the available assets figures.

Photo of Marbella villa rented by Sandhu
Marbella villa rented by Sandhu

Claire Bennett of the CPS said: “Mr Sandhu was a pernicious, cruel and callous criminal who was the ringleader in an operation in which often vulnerable and elderly victims were targeted mercilessly, through relentless cold calling and high pressure sales tactics. There was evidence that some vulnerable victims were targeted more than once.

“Where we can take money from people who have profited from crime, we will not hesitate to do so. In 2019/20 the CPS recovered over £100 million, stopping hundreds of criminals benefitting from their ill-gotten gains.”

This criminality was committed by use of cold-calling and other high-pressure sales tactics to sell worthless or overpriced investments to unsuspecting members of the public.

On 20 December 2017, Sandhu pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud in respect of the sale of carbon credits through Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd in a City of London Police investigation. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for each of those offences, to be served concurrently.

Photo of Rolex watch bought by Sandhu
Rolex watch bought by Sandhu

The separate Kent and Thames Valley investigations concerned an investment fraud committed against largely elderly victims. Sandhu was the ringleader in respect of the Thames Valley and Kent offending. He pleaded guilty on 9 February 2018 to one count of conspiracy to defraud. He ultimately received a sentence of 3.5 years imprisonment in respect of this offence, to be served concurrent to the sentences on the other operations.

In relation to a further separate Financial Conduct Authority case Sandhu was convicted of a number of counts of conspiracy to defraud and three counts of communicating an invitation to engage in an investment activity which involved a fraudulent share sale scheme, on 11 December 2017.

Notes to editors

  • Charanjit Sandhu (DOB: 3 December 1989) was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, fraud, and money laundering counts.
  • Claire Bennett is a Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS Proceeds of Crime, which is a specialist division dedicated to asset recovery.
  • The particular criminal conduct figure from the City of London investigation (Operation Wintergreen) is £133,521.82. The figure from the Kent and Thames Valley investigations is £1,931,106.31 while for the FCA case it is £82,153.16. The agreed benefit from general criminal conduct is £7,632.50. So this gave a total benefit figure of £2,154,413.79, which includes a Consumer Prices Index including Owner Occupiers’ Housing Costs (CPIH) increase to reflect inflation since the dates upon which the offences were committed. The available assets figure in these cases were agreed at court to be £391,680.17
  • Where a defendant refuses to pay their Confiscation Order in a timely way, CPS Proceeds of Crime can invite the court to impose an additional default sentence on them of up to 14 years' imprisonment. The full debt continues to be in force until it is paid and interest is charged against it at 8% (the civil judgement debt rate).

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