Philip Boakes owned and ran a company called CurrencyTrader Limited. CurrencyTrader claimed that it carried out foreign exchange spread betting, and that it typically generated returns of more than 20% a year by doing so. Between them, at least 30 investors deposited more than £3.5m with CurrencyTrader in the hope of securing these returns. As it turned out, CurrencyTrader was not authorised by the FCA to accept deposits; it didn’t trade investors’ money for more than a decade, and the guaranteed returns were “funded” using new investors’ deposits.

Amongst other things, Boakes admitted, or was found by the Court, to have lied about the returns he could generate; using client funds for his own benefit; using forged documents to support the fraud; trying to stop CurrencyTrader’s investors from assisting the FCA with its investigations, and using investors’ money to enjoy a lifestyle he could not have afforded without carrying out this fraud.

Boakes pleaded guilty to (a) two counts of fraudulent trading; (b) three counts of using a forged instrument; and (c) accepting deposits without authorisation from the FCA.

On Friday 6 March 2015, Boakes was sentenced to four and six years for the two counts of fraudulent trading; four years for each of three offences of using false instruments and one year for accepting deposits without FCA authorisation, all to run concurrently. In sentencing, HHJ Lorraine-Smith noted that Boakes’ sentence would have been 13 or 14 years without the discount for the early guilty pleas. All remaining counts on the indictment were ordered to lie on the file.

The FCA’s press release notes that this is the longest total prison sentence imposed as a result of any FCA or FSA prosecution.