- New SFO Director defends agency
David Green CB QC has started his role as the new Director of the SFO. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Green defended the SFO saying it is "here to stay" despite various doubts that have "been thrown upon its future". He said that the SFO will remain "a key crime-fighting agency targeting top-end fraud, bribery and corruption". Mr Green indicated, however, that he wants to "rebalance" the relationship between civil settlements and prosecutions, to address a perception that the SFO has become more willing to compromise instead of prosecuting. Mr Green also stated that he was "100 per cent" in favour of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs). The Solicitor General, Edward Garnier QC MP, has stated that the government will consult on DPAs this summer with a view to legislating on them later this year.
- Three jailed for duping British investors into investing in fraudulent shares
Two men and a woman have been jailed (to a total of sixteen years' imprisonment) following an SFO prosecution of a fraud whereby more than £4 million was taken from private investors in the UK through share pushing operations based in Spain and Ireland. Another man will be sentenced at a later date. The "boiler room" fraud employed persistent sales techniques to urge investors to buy shares in a number of companies on the understanding that the investment was of a short term and high return nature. Confiscation and compensation proceedings are provisionally arranged to commence against all four defendants on 8 October 2012.
- FSA warns over 75,000 people that they might be targeted by fraudsters
The FSA has contacted more than 75,000 people to let them know that they may be targets for fraudsters seeking to con them out of their money. The names of those concerned appeared on a number of lists recovered from companies that the FSA believes were fraudulently attempting to sell investments in land or shares that were either worthless or non-existent. The FSA has also set up a webpage dealing with the letter and investment scams generally.
The FSA has also published statistics showing that it has seen a 19% increase in the number of reports regarding "boiler room" frauds. Despite the increase in reports, there was a 7% drop in the number of people who have been convinced to invest in the fraud.
- SEC charges British twins over $1.2 million bogus stock fraud
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed an affidavit against two British twins for allegedly defrauding investors out of $1.2 million by using a bogus stock-picking robot. The twins allegedly claimed that the robot was capable of identifying cheap stocks that were about to rise by about 200-400%. In reality it is alleged that the brothers simply fed in ticker details for the stocks of firms that they were paid to promote. It is alleged that over 75,000 investors, most of whom were from the US, were defrauded.
- Two jailed over Olympic authority fraud
Two men have been jailed for money laundering following a fraud amounting to £2.3 million against the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). The men obtained the money by pretending to be senior employees of a firm carrying out construction work to landscape the Olympic Park. The men wrote to the ODA informing them of a change in the firm's bank account details and instead gave their own account details. The CPS alleged that the men were planning to disguise the money trail by sending it to Nigeria before buying a parade of shops in Wolverhampton. The men were handed custodial sentences of four and a half years' and three years and nine months' imprisonment.