Fake Investment Firms Target UK

Boiler Room Fraud

03.07.2009

An international criminal network of fake investment firms known as "boiler rooms" are conning millions of pounds out of Britain's 10 million small shareholders.

Dr John Ashley, from Cheshire, lost £60,000 after taking up free savings "advice" from Madrid-based investment firm Benjamin Fisher.

Dr Ashley bought £60,000 of shares through the firm - which then crashed in value and proved to be unsalable.

He said: "If I could have given my two kids 30 grand off their mortgage, I'm sure they'd be absolutely delighted. That would be a lot more pleasant than looking at a big hole in my bank account."

Benjamin Fisher offered Dr Ashley a free report on a company in which he owned shares. After he returned a form he was contacted by a friendly salesman who persuaded him to buy shares in a mining company.

The share price rose and Dr Ashley bought more of what are known as Regulation S shares. However, Regulation S shares are almost impossible to sell on and then the share price crashed, leaving his investment of £60,000 with a value of £5,000.

City of London Police is co-ordinating Operation Archway to target boiler room fraud.

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