A MAN from Rainham has been jailed for 16 months for his part in an investment fraud scam that tricked more than 70 people into handing over a total of £1.7 million.
Detectives in the Metropolitan Police’s Complex Fraud Team launched an investigation into a company called Taylor & Mills Ltd after a case referral from Action Fraud in 2013.
Analysis of the company revealed employees were cold-calling elderly and vulnerable members of the public, using aggressive and persistent sales techniques, to persuade them to buy green investments known as ‘carbon credits’.
To make the company seem plausible, professional-looking, glossy brochures were produced extolling the virtues of carbon credits.
The brochure, which even contained a quote from Barack Obama about the importance of green energy, was sent out to anyone who showed an interest when called.
The investigating officers 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, from Rainham, was listed as a director and shareholder of Taylor & Mills Ltd at Companies House and his identity was used to open the firm’s bank accounts.
Aaron Petrou’s role was to close deals and he used the pseudonym ‘Giles Beaumont’ when speaking to potential investors.
Met officers identified Petrou’s fingerprints on a book he had given to one of the biggest investors in the scheme as well as other documents sent to victims.
Dean Hempseed, who used the name ‘Henry Parker’, was identified as another salesman who made a number of false claims to persuade at least 12 victims to invest in carbon credits.
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.
Daniel Forsyth was identified as the company’s accountant. During a search of his home address in Bromley, Kent, a portable hard drive was found which linked him to the fraud.
Paul Thompson allowed his personal account to be used to receive almost £50,000 from Taylor & Mills Ltd, which was later withdrawn in cash.
The five men involved in the scam have been jailed for a total of 14 years.
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.”