A conman from Hayes who was part of a five-man team investment fraud scam that tricked more than 70 people into handing over a total of £1.7 million has been jailed.
Dean Hempseed was sentenced to five years imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court on Monday (March 6).
His gang targeted elderly and vulnerable people with cold calls in a bid to buy green investments.
The scam even included a glossy magazine which quoted Barak Obama.
Alan Mill, from High Street Rainham, Paul Thompson from Parkside Avenue, Bromley, Daniel Forsyth from Kingsleigh Walk, Bromley and Aaron Petrou from Norsted Lane, Orpington, were also sentenced for their part in the scam after entering guilty pleas.
Detectives in the Metropolitan Police’s Complex Fraud Team launched an investigation into a company called Taylor & Mills Ltd after a case referral from Action Fraud in 2013.
Analysis of the company revealed employees were cold-calling elderly and vulnerable members of the public, using aggressive and persistent sales techniques, to persuade them to buy green investments known as "carbon credits".
To make the company seem plausible, professional-looking, glossy brochures were produced extolling the virtues of carbon credits.
It included a quote from President Obama on the importance of green energy, and was sent out to anyone who showed an interest when called.
The investigating officers discovered that none of the victims’ money was being used to buy carbon credits, but was instead paid into bank accounts in the name of Taylor & Mills Ltd.
Mill, 64, was listed as a director and shareholder of Taylor & Mills Ltd at Companies House and his identity was used to open the firm’s bank accounts.
The role of Petrou, 49, was to close deals and he used the pseudonym "Giles Beaumont" when speaking to potential investors.
Met officers identified Petrou’s fingerprints on a book he had given to one of the biggest investors in the scheme as well as other documents sent to victims.
Hempseed, from The Green and aged 35, used the name "Henry Parker" and was identified as another salesman who made a number of false claims to persuade at least 12 victims to invest in carbon credits.
One victim recorded a 35 minute telephone conversation in which Hempseed said he could return three times the investment made within four months and convinced the victim to invest £50,000.
Another victim was tricked into investing £700,000 in the scam.
Forsyth, 34, was identified as the company’s accountant, while 29-year-old Thompson allowed his personal account to be used to receive almost £50,000 from Taylor & Mills Ltd, which was later withdrawn in cash.
They were sentenced as follows:
- Alan Mill, who pleaded guilty on January 9, was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud.
- Dean Hempseed, who pleaded guilty on January 9, was sentenced to five years imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud.
- Paul Thompson, who pleaded guilty on January 9, was sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for two years, for money laundering by concealing criminal property. He must also complete 150 hours unpaid work.
- Daniel Forsyth, who pleaded guilty on January 25 2016, was sentenced to four years and four months imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud.
- Aaron Petrou, who pleaded guilty on February 18 2016, was sentenced to three years and eight months imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud.
Detective Sergeant Richard Ward, from the Complex Fraud Unit, said: “This investment scam involved the use of aggressive and persistent sales tactics to exploit vulnerable members of the public.
"These men were motivated purely by greed and showed a complete disregard for the financial loss and emotional impact on the victims of the scam.”
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