'Instigator' of £2.8m fraud case sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment

Written by Oliver Wade

Michael Nascimento was today sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for his role in a share carried out through a series of boiler room companies, resulting in the loss of more than £2.8m of investors’ money.

Nascimento was branded the controlling mind, instigator and main beneficiary of the fraud.

Between July 2010 and April 2014, members of the public were cold-called and subjected to high pressure sales tactics to persuade them to purchase shares in a company that owned land on the island of Madeira. Investors were advised that the value of the land would increase substantially when permission to build 20 villas was granted, therefore increasing the value.

The investors’ were promised guaranteed returns of between 125% and 228%, however, none were ever paid. Instead, the money was used to maintain the fraud and fund the lifestyle of Nascimento. Over 170 members of the public invested more than £2.8m in the shares. Many were elderly or vulnerable and lost life-changing sums, in some cases all their life savings.

Today’s sentencing follows that of five other individuals involved in the same fraud on 4 September 2018 and takes the total imprisonment for all six individuals to 28.5 years.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward commented: “This brings to an end the FCA’s largest fraud prosecution which has seen the perpetrators imprisoned for a total of 28.5 years, affording justice to victims who were the subject of their calculated deception. We are continuing to fight for compensation for victims out of their assets.”

While sentencing Nascimento, the Judge, His Honour Judge Hehir stated that Nascimento had shown “utter cynicism and contempt” for some of the victims. He added that it was “particularly repellent” that elderly people had been specifically targeted. Judge Hehir described some of the stories that he heard during the trial as “positively heart-breaking”, with many of the victims suffering “life-shattering losses”.

The Judge commented that Mr Nascimento was “very adept at getting others to do his dirty work for [him]” and that many of his actions were “specifically designed to frustrate the task of the FCA and to prevent apprehension” but nonetheless “the FCA had built a formidable case” against him.

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