A WIGAN fraudster has been jailed for his part in a £9m scam in which more than 100 people were fleeced out of their savings.
Sean Liptrot, 50, is starting a two-and-a-half-year sentence behind bars after running a national shares rip-off operation.
He and two co-conspirators formed fake companies and stole millions from their victims who were duped into buying shares. The investigation by officers from Derbyshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit began in March 2009 into the ring who were living in Thailand and arrested when they returned to the UK.
Among the multiple other victims, local officers were contacted by a man from Ilkeston who suspected he was a victim of the ‘boiler room’ scam, and lost thousands of pounds which police say will never be recovered.
Det Con Pete Freeman said: “This has been a long and complex inquiry. These three men were living in Thailand and were arrested on their return to this country. Three other offenders were brought to justice in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and we remain determined to prosecute anyone suspected of this crime.
“More than £9m has been stolen and we will never be able to gain compensation for the victims of this fraud.
“Boiler Room frauds are generally committed by organized criminal gangs that con people into buying shares in legitimate companies or buying commodities such as gold. The victims are often elderly, vulnerable and inexperienced in investments.
“They are typically cold-called by the gang and subjected to high pressure sales tactics. Victims have lost their savings, pensions, and property to the criminals.
“The gangs set up companies, bank accounts and websites and sent out press releases to deceive people into believing that they are purchasing legitimate shares and commodities from genuine companies.
“That money was never invested and was stolen by the gangs.”
Liptrot pleaded guilty to converting criminal property on the basis of forming the company and opening the bank account of Alfort International Ltd, Pearlgate International Ltd and Valmont Services. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
David Charles Jackson, 44, of Halifax, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on the basis of forming the company World Asian Trading Ltd. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Charles Christopher Ayres, 40, of Chelmsford, Essex pleaded guilty to converting criminal property on the basis of forming the company and opening the bank account of Edenbridge International Ltd. He was sentenced to one year in prison.
Police advise anyone who is thinking of investing money to never respond to call-callers or speculative emails. Investors should contact a reputable company.