With so many potential frauds to be aware of these days, it is easy to see why some people can be easily caught out. You can’t possibly think of every fraud that is available and given that we could all do with some extra money, it can be easy to be sucked in by promises of riches and more money. The sad aspect of the matter is that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is and it is best avoided.
However, there will always be people who are keen to find a chance to make some money and this is exactly what fraudsters thrive on. Knowing that there are people who are desperate to make more cash or invest their money into a scheme that will provide them with a great return creates the opportunity for fraudsters to swindle people.
One of the popular activities for fraudsters in recent years has been boiler room scams. While these activities generally take place outside of the United Kingdom, many people in the UK have been victims of this style of crime. It is often difficult for the UK victims of this style of crime to receive justice but there are times when this is possible.
A Fraudster Avoided Jail After Paying Back Money
A recent example can be seen in the fact that a fraudster who was convicted of taking part in a boiler room scam was spared jail. While there would usually be a call for a hefty jail sentence to properly punish these criminals and to send out a warning to other criminals, a decision was taken to spare the main jail after the criminal repaid a large proportion of the money that had been lost by people.
This opens up another matter of debate. Just because most of the money has been returned should a criminal be allowed to avoid jail. It doesn’t actually change the act that was committed and it doesn’t change the hardship that many people suffered along the way. Clearly the overall amount of money lost by the victims has been reduced due to the fact that some of the money has been returned, but this is clearly a matter that can be debated back and forth for a lengthy period of time.
This fraud revolved around the victims being persuaded to buy rare earth metals which didn’t actually exist. There were ten investors around the United Kingdom, including one man from Cornwall who invested a sum of £100,000, and all of these people were swindled out of their by Oliver Slater and Anthony Greenway.
A Lot of Money was Conned Out of Investors
The total loss made by the investors amounted to £220,000. Slater pleaded guilty at a previous hearing, with his main crime being accessing and then downloading the customer database of the Prime Markets Ltd company. This was undertaken with the intent of commissioning another crime at a later date, the fraud. Slater also admitted a charge of conspiracy to fraud and he was sentenced to 4 years and 4 months in jail at his hearing.
Greenway initially denied the conspiracy to defraud but he was eventually found guilty after a trial. This hearing was postponed to allow Greenway time to repay his victims as a way of voluntary compensation. To do this, Greenway sold shared that he had received from running a business and he managed to transfer £158,000 to the police in order to repay his victims. The court was informed that the remainder of the money would likely be recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The defence solicitor at the court made the case that the returned money should be taken into consideration as his punishment. This action seemed to have pleased the judge who remarked that Greenway seemed to have been taken in by Slater.
It transpired that Greenway was an initial investor in the fraud, and then helped Slater out as the fraud continued. In this regard, you could make comparisons to a Pyramid scheme where people are recruited and then help out to take money from people below them. This is the only way that these investors will receive their money back, so they are keen to dupe as many other people as possible.
The work of the defence solicitor in this case allowed his client to avoid the jail sentence, even though the judge initially stated that a two year stretch in prison would be the applicable punishment. This two year sentence was suspended.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.