Five men who were part of an investment fraud scam that tricked more than 70 people into handing over a total of £1.7 million have been jailed for a total of 14 years.
Detectives from the Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into a company called Taylor & Mills Ltd after reports received from Action Fraud in 2013.
Employees of the company were cold-calling the elderly and vulnerable, using aggressive sales tactics, to persuade them to buy green investments known as 'carbon credits’.
Quotes from Barack Obama
To make the company appear legitimate, professional-looking brochures were produced which even contained a quote from Barack Obama about the importance of green energy. These were sent out to anyone who showed an interest in the scam.
The Met Police discovered that none of the victims' money was being used to buy carbon credits, but was instead paid into bank accounts in the name of Taylor & Mills Ltd.
Alan Mill, Dean Hempseed, Paul Thompson, Daniel Forsyth and Aaron Petrou all pleaded guilty and were sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison by Southwark Crown Court.
Unrealistic returns promised
One victim recorded a 35 minute telephone conversation in which Hempseed said he could return three times the investment made within four months and convinced the victim to invest £50,000. Another victim was tricked into investing £700,000 in the scam.
Detective Sergeant Richard Ward, from the Complex Fraud Unit, said: "This investment scam involved the use of aggressive and persistent sales tactics to exploit vulnerable members of the public. These men were motivated purely by greed and showed a complete disregard for the financial loss and emotional impact on the victims of the scam."
Be Scam Smart
Last year, victims of investment fraud lost on average £32,000 as fraudsters employed increasingly advanced psychological tactics to persuade victims to invest.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is urging over 55s to check investment opportunities are genuine before they part with their money. This comes as new research, commissioned as part of the FCA’s ScamSmart campaign, reveals that only 42% of people think they know how to spot a fraudulent investment opportunity.
Report fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud and receive a police crime reference number.
Sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.