What is land banking fraud?
Land banking fraud is a type of property fraud and is becoming increasingly prevalent. This is where investors are led to believe they are investing in land that will significantly increase in value. The factors supporting this belief would be for instance plots of land in areas with high house prices, a declared government intention for increased housing or the plot is close to land that has been allocated for development.
The fraud is perpetrated by the reality being far different. The plot would have little or no development potential and it may be unlikely to get planning permission. The land may not even exist or if it does it may not actually belong to the person actually selling it. It is very difficult to try and establish this.
This is another type of investment fraud where people are enticed into parting with money on the promise of great returns. This is often done through high pressure telephone sales or could be by brochures or websites. Another way of enticing people would be for the perpetrators to take a stand at an exhibition. The main aim is to entice people to invest in a plot of land that ends up being worthless. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) do not regulate land as a specified investment but many schemes may be in breach of the financial regulation regime in any event. This would be if they are offering a ‘collective investment’ scheme. In order to be operating legally these would need to request and obtain authorisation from the FCA. Generally land banking schemes are not regulated.
These cases are notoriously difficult and prosecutors seem determined to pursue them aggressively in the current climate. The City of London Police has a particular interest and are dedicating resources to this area. The frauds are often perpetrated on a national scale and the paper trail can be complex. As nationally recognised solicitors across the UK we can assist no matter what area you are based in. We cover investigations and proceedings throughout the country and have access to experts such as accountants and senior barristers in all areas.
Our experienced team of serious fraud lawyers has the expertise and knowledge to look at the required level of detail to defend you. Contact our expert fraud solicitors on 0203 816 9274 or complete our online enquiry form.