Four men have been sentenced at Southwark Crown Court (Credit: Google)
Their company, Essex and London Properties Ltd (ELP), made over £13 million by defrauding more than 800 people.
The group told investors that they would buy properties along the new Cross Rail route, refurbish them and sell them for profit.
ELP kept up appearances by paying the first wave of investors with the money they received from the second wave while transferring any remaining cash into their personal bank accounts.
Two of the fraudsters managed to pocket more than £500,000 while the third made over £250,000.
Essex Police began investigating the scheme in 2017 when one investor reported that he may have been the victim of fraud.
Detectives found the group would rent several offices in Kent and London where they would meet with investors to discuss the scheme. They used fake Land Registry documents to pretend they had purchased properties in Brentwood, Chelmsford and Colchester.
The group also played pre-recorded background noise during phone calls to suggest they were calling from a busy office and made fake brochures using stolen photos of properties from estate agents.
ELP’s assets were all frozen a month after the investigation began and the company was ordered into liquidation in November 2018.
Mohammed Tanveer, 33, of Ilford, was involved in running ELP and was arrested at his home. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of fraud.
Four other men were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder and acquiring criminal property following an 11-week trial at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, 22 April 2022.
Florian Pierini, 35, of no fixed abode and Tanveer were both sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Mohammed Hussain, 31, of Oxfordshire, was jailed for four-and-a-half years while Jeffrey Razaq, 60, of Suffolk, received a 12-month suspended sentence and was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.
The fifth man is due to be sentenced next month.
“A dedicated team of specialists including the insolvency service and HMRC have been assigned to this case over the past five years and have worked tirelessly to get justice for victims,” said Detective Constable Greig Avery.
“I want to make it clear that these men went to exceptional lengths to add credibility to their enterprise.
“They used every tactic they could think of to pretend it was an established, legitimate company and shamelessly conned hundreds of investors out of millions of pounds.
“On one occasion, they even showed a potential investor around a property they were looking to ‘add to their portfolio’, which of course never happened.
“Funding a lavish lifestyle off of the hard earnings of other people is in my mind, a sickening crime and included an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai and hiring a private yacht.
“This was a sophisticated fraud which financially impacted a large number of victims and I’m incredibly proud that we’ve been able to stop them in their tracks and bring them to justice.”
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