The City of London Police has arrested an Essex man suspected of working in a boiler room that is believed to have made £1.5 million selling fraudulent diamond investments.
The 24-year-old was arrested by detectives from the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering at his home in Chingford.
Last year 5252 investors from across the UK reported to Action Fraud that they lost a total of £1.73 billion to investment fraud, lured into handing over anything from a few pounds to several hundreds of thousands.
On this occasion 60 people are believed to have fallen victim to a scam fronted by two companies presented as diamond investment brokerages.
Investors were led to believe the precious stones they were buying would be stored in Geneva-based vaults before being sold for a considerable profit at reputable auction houses.
However, the investigation team has so far found no evidence that either the diamonds or the Swiss storage companies even existed.
Specialist in follow up introductions
The suspect arrested is believed to have been working as a ‘closer’, specialising in following up on introductions made by cold-callers to finalise the fraudulent deals and secure investor’s money.
Detective Constable Ceri Hunt, who is leading the investigation for the City of London Police, said: “Investment fraud is a crime that specifically targets an older generation who have worked hard all their lives and are now trying to find a way to secure a decent return on their savings.
“Every month hundreds of people are being conned into putting their money into investment schemes which on the surface appear to be guaranteeing them a happy retirement but in reality are being run by ruthless fraudsters who are only offering a one-way ticket to a place full of broken promises, lies and heartache.
“It is vitally important that if you are ever contacted by a cold-caller trying to sell you something that you simply hang up the phone as quickly as possible and if you do fall victim to a scam that you report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 400.”
Read more on the City of London Police website.
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To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.