Canary Wharf fraudsters jailed for 26 years
A gang behind a £35.8 million landbanking scheme operating out of Canary Wharf were sentenced on Friday.
The men who ran the largest ever case of fraud taken on by Tower Hamlets Trading Standards, have been ordered to serve a combined total of 26 years and four months.
Daniel Webster, 29, Stephen Allan, 38, and Steven Percival, 29, all from Bromley pleaded not guilty at Southwark Crown Court. A fourth member Christopher Demetrious from Ilford admitted conspiracy to defraud.
The crooks used Canary Wharf postal addresses to create a reputable sounding business, defrauding more than 400 people over five years.
They persuaded purchasers to invest in worthless plots of greenfield land and convinced them they would make a huge profit once they had been granted planning permission.
Trading as Countrywide Land Holdings Limited, Countrywide Land Holdings, and Regional Land they operated throughout the UK between 1 January 1 2005 and August 31 2010.
More than 40 witnesses gave evidence during the seven week trial.
Webster and Percival were given six and a half year sentences and Allan seven years.
Demetriou had his sentence reduced to six years four months.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: "The defendants in this case preyed on innocent investors with blatant disregard to the consequences for them.
"This case sends out a strong message that fraud will never be tolerated in Tower Hamlets. Cutting crime is one of my priorities and we will always be vigilant on criminal activities operating in the borough.
"The defendants in this case preyed on innocent investors with blatant disregard to the consequences for them."