A con man who duped people into investing in fine wine has been jailed after swindling hundreds of people out of an estimated £8million through a scam.
Spyros Constantinos, 43, used a Canary Wharf address during five years of fraud, promising people huge returns if they invested their life savings in luxury wine portfolios.
He brazenly splashed the money he made on a luxury lifestyle that included jet-setting around the world and shopping sprees at Harrods and Selfridges.
After receiving more than 300 complaints relating to Constantinos, Tower Hamlets Council’s trading standards officers worked with the National Trading Standards Scambusters Team to capture Constantinos.
The court heard evidence from 23 of his victims, defrauded between September 2007 and October 2013.
Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, said: “I am pleased that through partnership working we were able to bring this criminal to justice.
“I urge people to be vigilant when considering investing in these sorts of schemes – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
“If you suspect someone of operating a fraudulent investment I urge you to call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.”
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “This case is a brilliant example of the hard work that we as a council do in clamping down on fraud.
“Our Trading Standards team worked on this hugely complicated case – the sentence is a real sign that we will not tolerate fraudulent practices in this borough.”
At the Old Bailey on Wednesday, July 29, Constantinos – of no fixed address – was found guilty of 10 offences relating to the fraud and sentenced to eight years in prison.
The charges he was found guilty of included four counts of participating in a fraudulent business, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, two counts of fraudulent trading, contrary to the Companies Act 2006 and four counts of acting in contravention of a disqualification undertaking, contrary to the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.