Defendants sentenced in FCA prosecution of £1.4m investment scheme

Written by Adam Cadle

Four defendants have appeared at Southwark Crown Court to be sentenced for their role in the operation of an investment scheme which left investors losing just over £1.4m.

FCA director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward said: “The perpetrators of this scheme repeatedly misled investors for their own gain. The FCA is committed to ensuring that the operators of unauthorised investment schemes are brought to justice and are accountable for their misconduct.”

Samrat Bhandari, whom the judge described as “the prime mover” in the sale of shares had his sentencing adjourned. He offered to arrange funds to reimburse investors in this period. However, this offer was subsequently withdrawn. Bhandari will be sentenced in late January 2018, and was remanded in custody until that time.

Muhammad Aleem Mirza was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment. He was disqualified as a director for eight years. The judge said that his dealings had “brought about his professional ruin” and that he had put his own ambitions and pride before his responsibilities as the director of a company.

Both Mirza and Bhandari were convicted on 30 November 2017, following a trial at Southwark Crown Court lasting 49 days.

Michael Moore was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment and his brother Paul Moore to 9 months’ imprisonment; both had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

The Judge said that Michael Moore knew exactly what he was doing from the outset of his involvement in the scheme. Michael and Paul Moore are already serving seven years’ imprisonment resulting from their involvement in a separate investment scheme. They will serve their sentences consecutively, meaning they will serve total sentences of 8 years 3 months and 7 years 9 months respectively. They had both previously been disqualified from holding the position of director for 10 years.

At the hearing the FCA commenced confiscation proceedings against each defendant, with a view to recovering from each the benefit they gained from their criminal conduct. In due course, the FCA will invite the Court to order that sums confiscated from the defendants are used to compensate the victims of their crimes.

In sentencing, Judge Loraine-Smith noted that the purpose of the legislation is to protect investors investing in public companies.

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