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Eight people convicted of running scam which saw elderly and vulnerable conned out of millions

PUBLISHED: 17:55 08 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:55 08 April 2019

Detective Inspector Liz Fernandes, from Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), led the investigation. Picture: Archant

Detective Inspector Liz Fernandes, from Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), led the investigation. Picture: Archant

Archant

Eight people have been convicted of running a number of ‘boiler room’ frauds which saw elderly and vulnerable people conned out of millions of pounds.

The group, which includes one man from Wisbech and a man from Trowse, ran an elaborate scam from 2014 until 2016, conning more than 50 people out of £3 million by convincing them to invest in fake investment companies.

In particular they would target elderly and often vulnerable individuals, with some people being scammed by the group more than once.

After a number of concerned victims contacted police, an investigation was launched by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).

Following the conclusion of a trial at Southwark Crown Court on Monday (8 April) – Lucy Richardson, 25, of Crofton Avenue, Orpington, Kent, Mark Bowman, 55, of Princes Gardens, Whitley Bay, Mandy Cross, 59, also of Clifton Close, Oprington, and Muhammad Tanveer, 30, of South Street, Romford, were found guilty of money laundering offences.

Ryan Weston, 27, of Clarkson Avenue, Wisbech and Shaun Cross, 30, of Clifton Close, Orpington pleaded guilty to money laundering.

An earlier trial in relation to the same case saw Tanveer convicted of further fraud and money laundering offences, and Barry Spearing, 58, of Stutton Hall, Stutton, Suffolk, convicted of money laundering.

Philip Hunt, 32, of Whitlingham Lane, Trowse, Norfolk, pleaded guilty to money laundering at an earlier court hearing.

A ‘boiler room’ fraud sees criminals make cold calls or emails to people pretending to be from an established and legitimate company, persuading them to invest in what are in fact completely worthless or non-existent stocks. Often high pressured sales tactics are used, which is why they’re described as ‘boiler room’.

Detective Chief Inspector Liz Fernandes, who led the investigation, said: “Investigations such as this are incredibly lengthy and complex, so I’m pleased that the group have now been convicted and will face the justice they deserve.

“These heartless criminals conned innocent people out of their hard earned money, callously tricking them into investing into non-existent companies and stocks. Our officers have worked tirelessly to establish the facts around the case, leading to these convictions today, and I hope the results will give the victims some sense of closure.”

Sentencing will take place on April 26.

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