Natalie McNamee, instructed by the Financial Conduct Authority, prosecuted an eight-week trial at Southwark Crown Court, which resulted in the conviction of three defendants for an offence of conspiracy to defraud. A fourth defendant was convicted of breaching the general prohibition against trading without FCA authorisation.
The defendants set up and ran a fraudulent binary options trading platform. Potential investors were cold-called and persuaded to put money into this risky form of investment through promises of high returns, ring-fencing of funds and initial periods of loss-free trading. In truth, once the money was handed over, it was simply dissipated, and no trading actually took place. In total, £1.4 million was taken from over 100 victims, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable. Binary options have since been banned by the FCA.
The first three defendants were sentenced to a combined total of 24 ½ years’ imprisonment. The fourth defendant will be sentenced at a later date.
Natalie was led by Alastair Smith of 2 Bedford Row, and instructed by Ben Holden and Nehal Vasani of the Financial Conduct Authority.