The five men were all jailed for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in November 2018 for their part in an organised crime group which groomed at least 24 elderly victims, convincing them to pay in to bogus investment opportunities
Following their convictions, a financial investigator from Surrey Police sought confiscation orders under POCA against them which were granted at a hearing at Kingston Crown Court on Friday, 5 July 2019.
They were ordered to repay a total of £370,634.80 which had been identified in assets.
The fraudsters set up a company ‘The Commodities Link’ which appeared legitimate with offices in Canary Wharf, glossy brochures and slick marketing videos. They boasted of celebrity links, and would send cars to collect high value victims and take them out for meals.
In fact it was all a façade – the Canary Wharf offices were serviced offices and mailboxes, the claims in the glossy brochures and slick videos were fake.
Surrey Police started investigating the company in 2013, after one of the victims, a woman in her 80s from Woking, asked her bank manager help her transfer £100,000 to the fraudsters. The bank manager became suspicious and contacted police.
The orders are:
- Gennaro Fiorentino, age 39, of Wetherall Road, Hackney was ordered to repay £130,614.80
- Darren Flood, age 40 , of High Elms Lane, Stevenage was ordered to repay 190,000.00
- Mark Whitehead, age 60, of Thetford Road, Bury St Edmunds was ordered to repay £50,000
- Paul Muldoon, age 35 C/O Pin Mill, Basildon was ordered to pay a nominal fee of £10 as he does not currently have any assets. In this case, if in future he comes into money or Surrey Police identifies assets belonging to him, we will pursue him for these.
- Jonathan Docker, age 33 of Charlesworth Court, Chigwell was ordered to pay a nominal fee of £10
Detective Inspector Matt Durkin, Head of the Surrey Police's Economic Crime Unit, said:
"These people destroyed their victims’ lives without a second thought. They took life savings, left investors destitute and took away the confidence and independence of their elderly victims. They were professional criminals, essentially grooming the people they targeted over time, and thoroughly deserve to have each and every penny of their criminal gains that we’ve been able to identify taken from them.
"The confiscation orders granted in this case now means that the victims will be compensated in part for their losses. This is testament to the hard work, tenacity and determination of financial investigator Steve Hayes in tracking down the assets this group had obtained through their criminal enterprise.
" Seeking a confiscation order following a conviction is a lengthy, complex process which can take many months but it reinforces our message that as well as serving any sentence handed down by the courts, criminals can also expect us to hit them where it hurts – in the pocket.”