FCA to return £2.5m to land banking victims

The FCA has obtained approval from the High Court for a scheme to return £2.5m in compensation to the victims of a series of unauthorised collective investment schemes.

Between 2005 and 2010, around 800 people invested approximately £32.8m in unauthorised collective investment schemes, which according to the FCA, were established and operated by Countrywide Land Holdings Limited, James Kenneth Maynard – trading as Regional Land and Countrywide Land Holdings – and Stephen Ronald Watkins – trading as Consolidated Land UK.

The regulator announced that these schemes involved the unlawful selling of plots of land.

The FCA has recovered £2.5m from the liquidation of a related Panamanian company, Paradigm Consultancy SA, and this amount will now be distributed to the 573 qualifying investors to have been identified.

“Investment promising high returns means there is a high risk investors will lose their money,” FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, Mark Steward, commented. “Sadly, this is what happened here. We have worked very hard to identify people eligible to receive compensation from these schemes and are pleased to have been able to recover and return some of their money.

“We would like to thank the Metropolitan Police and Trading Standards for their assistance with this matter.”

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