"This scam has caused a substantial amount of distress and hardship to the victims"
A man who duped people into investing thousands of pounds in a fraudulent company has been jailed.
Alan Taylor, 36, of Garratt Lane was jailed for two years at Southwark Crown Court after pleading guilty to eight counts of fraud.
Taylor purported to run a gold investment company called 'European Gold Ventures Limited', which he claimed was based in Mayfair, and targeted the elderly and vulnerable, tempting them to part with their savings on the promise of huge returns.
After a year of trading Taylor closed the company and then relaunched it as 'Simple Gold Investments Limited' based in Old Broad Street. Neither of the addresses actually existed.
Taylor also advertised his business via a number of websites with high quality brochures produced to add credibility to the scam.
He targeted victims across the UK, aggressively cold calling them. Police were able to identify seven victims, aged between 55 and 73, who lost a total of £163,000 in the scams between 2011 and 2012.
Individual losses ranged from £7,000 to £59,000. None of the money, nor any gold, has been recovered.
The victims were from Wandsworth, Battersea, Southwark, Cheshire and Wales.
When officers searched Taylor's home address they found a list with hundreds of names, addresses, contact phone numbers and email addresses, together with a well researched and persuasive sales script.
Officers believe there could be more victims of the scam and have urged members of the public who have transferred money through the following websites to contact them (please note that the addresses no longer link through and are purely for reference). These are:
DC Luis Castanheira, from Southwark police, said, "This scam has caused a substantial amount of distress and hardship to the victims, most of whom invested their life savings.
"I urge people to be vigilant when considering investing in these sorts of schemes - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you are cold-called, do not be afraid to put the phone down on any such individuals.
"Given the current financial climate with low interest rates this type of fraud promising high returns is quite common."
Taylor denied that charges throughout, but pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial.
If you suspect someone of operating a fraudulent investment simply walk away. Individuals can also be checked on the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk
September 22, 2015