What is boiler room fraud?
Boiler room fraud is essentially a serious form of unlicensed share dealing. Share dealing is a regulated activity under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The term boiler room refers to a busy centre of activity. This would usually be a room of salespeople using telephone cold calling to commit fraud by selling worthless or non-existent shares. The salespeople will often pretend they are stockbrokers and persuade investors to part with their money to buy shares in non-existent, worthless or near-bankrupt companies. Often tactics are employed to try and intimidate those changing their minds by claiming they have made a binding verbal contract. Legal action is often threatened.
Often people can be accused of this type of fraud when they themselves have simply been recruited by the real fraudsters without knowing about the fraud that is being perpetrated. The sales team sometimes have no idea of the scam.
The most common charge used for this fraud is conspiracy to defraud. A conspiracy is simply an agreement and here it means an agreement to defraud someone. The important thing for us to remember is that the prosecution must be able to show dishonesty. If the prosecution cannot prove that then you cannot be convicted.
Often, these large-scale investment frauds have international elements. It is common to have links to Spain and the USA. The proceeds of crime can often be traced overseas. Increasingly the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and City of London Police are using their powers to freeze assets at an early stage with restraint orders. This can be devastating on a business or an individual and you will need assistance to challenge this if you become the subject of one.
What should I do if I am investigated for boiler room fraud?
If you are being investigated for boiler room fraud offences, then you need a specialist boiler room fraud law firm on your side. We have been recognised in the Legal 500 as a top tier fraud firm and have a track record for successfully defending boiler room fraud.
By its nature, boiler room fraud is complex, and it is possible to be wrongly accused of boiler room fraud. If this is so, we recommend that you seek legal advice straight away. We have found that when a lawyer for boiler room fraud is present at the initial interview stage (anything said in a formal interview can be used as evidence) it can help with the outcome of the case. We operate in a proactive fashion and have access to boiler room fraud barristers as well as other independent experts such as accountants and computer analysts, who may be able to assist with your defence.
As experts in this type of investment fraud, we have plenty of experience in dealing with a number of agencies, such as the FCA, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), HMRC, City of London Police and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). We understand their mindset and will confidently challenge them, if appropriate.
Our experienced team of boiler room fraud lawyers have the expertise, resource and knowledge to look at the required level of detail to defend you. Contact our expert solicitors for boiler room fraud on 0203 816 1098 or complete our online enquiry form.
What is the sentence for boiler room fraud?
Boiler room fraud schemes are a serious crime and it is likely, if convicted, to result in a prison sentence. The maximum sentence for boiler room fraud is ten years in prison and you may also face other penalties such as:
- A substantial fine
- Disqualification from being a company director
- Confiscation order – this is where proceeds from the crime will be confiscated. In some cases, it may be used to compensate victims
- Deprivation orders
- Financial reporting order
- A serious crime prevention order.
A sentence will be handed down by a judge, and they will consider several factors when determining the sentence, such as your involvement in the boiler room fraud, the level of harm caused or intended and the effect the crime has had on the victim. The judge may also take into consideration any previous convictions, mental health issues or a guilty plea.
Boiler room fraud case: acquittal for man accused of boiler room fraud
Our boiler room fraud solicitors secured the acquittal of a man who was facing serious boiler room fraud charges, which would have incurred a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.
The man, who was one of three defendants, was charged with conspiracy to defraud. The prosecution alleged the complainant had been defrauded over several years as part of a highly sophisticated ‘boiler room’ fraud operation. In boiler room frauds, a broker, usually operating from an overseas firm, will cold call a potential investor and propose they buy shares in a particular company.
The complainant in this case had been persuaded to invest in shares. The complainant did not receive any share certificates and later found out that the company he had purportedly purchased shares in did not exist. The prosecution alleged the defendants conspired together to defraud the complainant of £350,000.
Throughout the case, our client denied his involvement in the conspiracy to defraud. The case recently went to trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court and our client, together with one other co-defendant, was found not guilty by the jury.
We are a highly regarded law firm for boiler room fraud and our expert boiler fraud solicitors are here to help. Contact us now on 0203 816 1098.