Docklands and Bow fraudsters were involved in a scam that swindled £2.3million from more than 80 people.
Twelve people were arrested for the con and many have now been convicted including Michael Foran, James Francis Byrne and James Patrick Byrne from Bow, and Migle Sasyte and Vladimir Rusaliychev from the Docklands area.
Their scam had a professional set-up according to police and aimed to sell worthless carbon credit to unsuspecting investors.
How the scam worked
The gang set up companies registered through Companies House and a number of dummy companies, appearing legitimate by creating virtual offices, hiring through appropriate channels and professional websites.
The main companies were the London Carbon Credit Company (LCCC) and the Henderson International Associates (HIA).
Both involved carbon credits, which can be sold and traded with a view of investors making an immediate financial return on their initial outlay.
Voluntary Emission Reduction carbon credits were sold by LCCC and Certified Emission Reduction carbon credits were transferred into pensions by HIA. Both were worthless.
So-called “openers” would make cold calls explaining the benefit of investing before the “closers” told a series of lies and convince victims to hand over their money.
Openers had to make around 500 calls a day and if they didn’t send out enough brochures they were sacked while the closers would make substantial commission on their sales.
The purchasers were told to expect significant return in their investment with LCCC and would often take out loans or extend mortgages to pay for the assets.
Through HIA, the pension owners would transfer their pensions, often built up over a lifetime, into a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP), composed of carbon credits.
Local people involved and their sentences
- Michael Foran, 27, of Whitton Walk, E3, jailed for four years
- James Francis Byrne, 30, of Seven Sea Gardens, E3, jailed for 11 years
- James Patrick Byrne, 57, of Whitton Walk, E3, jailed for five years
- Vladimir Rusaliychev, 32, of Galleons Road, E16, jailed for five years
- Migle Sasyte, 31, of Galleons Road, E16, found guilty and due to be sentenced in January 2017
What the police said
DC Mark Loftus said: “This organised criminal group defrauded more than 80 people out of millions of pounds by deliberately selling carbon credits they knew were worthless or of nominal value.
“The leaders of the group instructed their staff to make hundreds of cold calls every day and then tell lies to prospective customers to persuade them to invest in the fraudulent schemes.
“These were sophisticated frauds carried out by a group who were determined not to stop.”
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of investment fraud should call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
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