The Central Criminal Court has made confiscation orders against the two final defendants who were convicted of offences following one of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) largest investigations into unauthorised activity.
The FCA’s investigation, known as Operation Cotton, led to eight convictions and this week’s orders mean a total of £2,195,496 will be confiscated from all eight defendants. The eight defendants are Scott Crawley, Brendan Daley, Daniel Forsyth, Adam Hawkins, Ricky Mitchie, Ross Peters, Aaron Petrou and Dale Walker.
His Honour Judge Leonard QC has directed that all sums confiscated from the Defendants be paid by way of compensation to the victims of their crimes. Those who have suffered a quantifiable loss should expect to receive just over 40% of the capital amount owed to them.
Mark Steward, the FCA’s Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight said:
“The FCA will continue to pursue those engaged in financial crime, including advisers and other professionals who facilitate misconduct or who launder its proceeds. We will also take action, wherever possible, to address the harm caused by misconduct, including taking action to strip illegal gains from defendants for the benefit of those who have suffered loss as a result.”
Between July 2008 and November 2011, an unauthorised collective investment scheme was operated through three companies: Plott Investments Ltd (which changed its name to Plott UK Ltd), European Property Investments (UK) Ltd and Stirling Alexander Ltd. Salesmen for the companies cold-called potential investors to sell them agricultural land that the companies had bought for minimal amounts, as well as land the companies did not own. More than £5 million was extracted from investors to buy land at a vastly inflated price on the false promise of a substantial profit, which never materialised.
Scott Crawley and the salesmen who worked with him were assisted by Dale Walker, a conveyancing solicitor who received hundreds of thousands of pounds into his accounts. He was convicted of possessing criminal property contrary to section 329 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as well as aiding and abetting the carrying out of a regulated activity.
Details of the Defendants’ convictions and the sentences imposed:
- Eight convicted for role in unauthorised collective investment scheme
- Individual sentenced for role in operating unauthorised collective investment scheme
- FCA prohibits six individuals for their part in unauthorised collective investment scheme
Scott Crawley and Ricky Mitchie’s confiscation orders were made on 6 January 2017. Ross Peters and Adam Hawkins’ confiscation orders were made on 10 January 2017. Brendan Daley’s confiscation order was made on 12 January 2017. Dale Walker’s confiscation order was made on 8 February 2017. Daniel Forsyth and Aaron Petrou’s confiscation orders were made on 22 May 2017.