Two men jailed in the UK's first criminal trial involving land banking fraud in the City of London Police investigation
A £3 million was proven to be gathered from 300 investors the pair cheated, evidence was pointing the two as culprits. Their strategies were to fool their victims like elderly and those who are vulnerable into buying plots of land that were either worthless or massively over-priced.
Found guilty of five counts of money laundering, the two men (42 and 32 years old) were sentenced to seven and six years at Isle worth Crown Court.
Their claim was that the locations of the supposed to be valuable plots were marketed as being in a prime position for development and would quickly increase in value. But the truth of the fact is that investors were putting their money into plots located on farmland, in the Green Belt, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or on the sides of hills, with no chance of gaining planning permission let alone building houses.
The two were just funneling off the funds into a network of bank accounts while the investors received small returns while others lost everything. In a matter of two years they manage to con 300 victims, one of which is an elderly man who was suffering from terminal cancer losing almost £300,000 and a woman fooled by as much as £373,000. In order for people to buy their schemes, cold calling and high pressure sale tactics were put into play to target and then bully them.
According to DC Dave Parkinson, from the City of London Police, "The pair preyed on the vulnerable, exploiting their desire to put their savings in something tangible that would provide them with long-term security. They cared not from whom they stole, but only for what they could take."
"Plots of land that were good for nothing and worth a fraction of the asking price were marketed as a sound investment with planning permissions in the pipeline and development round the corner. The gang used all the tricks of the trade to give the appearance of legitimacy, picked off their targets over the phone and then disappeared without trace with their savings." He added.
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