A boiler room fraudster has been sentenced for four and a half years for his part in a £4 million scam.
John Laurence Curtin was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday as one of five conspirators convicted for defrauding UK investors following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
He was also sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment for breaching the general prohibition in the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 for dealing, arranging and advising on investments without authorisation between 2005 and 2007. The two sentences will run concurrently.
Curtin’s sentence was reduced to three years following a 30% discount for offering an early plea.
Curtin sold fraudulent company shares to UK investors at inflated prices through the company he managed called Secure Trade and Title, first in Barcelona then Limerick. He also trained new salesmen to call potential investors and accumulated over £4 million of investor money in a matter of months.
Curtin was the first defendant brought to prosecution by the SFO as part of its Secure Trade and Title case and was arrested in France in October 2013. He returned to the UK shortly afterwards and pleaded guilty in March this year
The SFO said the investors did not know their money was being siphoned off by the boiler rooms.
A statement from the SFO said: ‘Curtin was a salesman and manager involved in the fraudulent sale of company shares to British residents at vastly inflated prices. He did this by acting through unregulated businesses…selling worthless shares over the phone.
‘Investors had no idea that money of the money for the shares which they transferred into a UK Lloyd’s bank account, was not going to the company in which they had been encouraged to invest.’