Two men face a total of four years in prison for swindling more than £1.2m from over 30 victims through a Madrid-based boiler room.
Alexander Pratt, 29, from Wimbledon and Mark Sisson, 35, from Chiswick convinced their unsuspecting victims to part with their savings in exchange for ‘S-Reg’ shares, which in may cases were worthless.
One victim invested their life savings of more than £137,500, funding an extravagant lifestyle for the fraudsters. Pratt left the boiler room in 2009 to embark on a round-the-world trip.
City of London Police detective superintendent Maria Woodall says: “These fraudsters deliberately targeted innocent and vulnerable people and misled them to believe they were making worthwhile investments in shares that were effectively worthless.”
The fraudsters duped their victims into purchasing the shares by calling by phone and misselling the restricted stocks. The scammers even sent brochures and share certificates in the post in an attempt to assure the victims of their credibility.
Extra staff were recruited to their offices in order to boost the operation, but eventually Pratt was arrested at Heathrow airport in December 2011 on suspicion of fraud by false representation.
Sisson was arrested for conspiring to commit fraud by false representation in August 2010, and pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey on 9 December 2014.
“Today’s result will hopefully bring some comfort to those who have lost money and serve as a warning to anyone thinking of putting their money in investment schemes which seem too good to be true,” says Woodall.