UK financial regulator The FCA has announced that the Central Criminal Court has made confiscation orders against the two final defendants who were convicted of offences following one of the FCA’s largest investigations into unauthorised activity.
The FCA’s investigation, known as Operation Cotton, led to eight convictions and this week’s orders mean a total of £2,195,496 will be confiscated from all eight defendants. The eight defendants are Scott Crawley, Brendan Daley, Daniel Forsyth, Adam Hawkins, Ricky Mitchie, Ross Peters, Aaron Petrou and Dale Walker.
His Honour Judge Leonard QC has directed that all sums confiscated from the Defendants be paid by way of compensation to the victims of their crimes. Those who have suffered a quantifiable loss should expect to receive just over 40% of the capital amount owed to them.
Mark Steward, the FCA’s Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight said:
The FCA will continue to pursue those engaged in financial crime, including advisers and other professionals who facilitate misconduct or who launder its proceeds. We will also take action, wherever possible, to address the harm caused by misconduct, including taking action to strip illegal gains from defendants for the benefit of those who have suffered loss as a result.
Between July 2008 and November 2011, an unauthorised collective investment scheme was operated through three companies: Plott Investments Ltd (which changed its name to Plott UK Ltd), European Property Investments (UK) Ltd and Stirling Alexander Ltd. Salesmen for the companies cold-called potential investors to sell them agricultural land that the companies had bought for minimal amounts, as well as land the companies did not own. More than £5 million was extracted from investors to buy land at a vastly inflated price on the false promise of a substantial profit, which never materialised.
Scott Crawley and the salesmen who worked with him were assisted by Dale Walker, a conveyancing solicitor who received hundreds of thousands of pounds into his accounts. He was convicted of possessing criminal property contrary to section 329 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as well as aiding and abetting the carrying out of a regulated activity.