TV Alias Gang Sentenced for Fraudulent Investment Scheme - Film Alias Scam Gang Jailed for 5 Years in Ponzi Scheme Fraud

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Film Alias Scam Gang Jailed for 5 Years in Ponzi Scheme Fraud

A criminal gang that adopted aliases from popular films and TV shows, including Suits, The Riot Club, and Hart to Hart, has been collectively sentenced to five years and eight months for orchestrating a fraudulent investment scheme. Sujanthan Sotheeswaran, Darren Peck, and Denis Deegan acted as ‘brokers’ on behalf of Choice Option and later Blue Crest Capital Options, luring unsuspecting individuals into a managed account scheme through cold-calling.

Financial records revealed that Sotheeswaran, Peck, and Deegan ranked among the top 20 percent of staff earners, receiving payments directly from investors who were coerced into joining the scheme through high-pressure tactics. Investors were told they couldn’t trade independently, and only the brokers had the authority to execute trades.

The trio faced sentencing at Southwark Crown Court on January 19, 2024, after being found guilty of one count of fraud by false representation. Sotheeswaran, 35, received a three-year prison sentence, while Peck, 43, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation activities and unpaid work requirements. Deegan, 49, received a two-year eight-month prison sentence.

Hayley Wade, a Financial Investigator from the Civil Recovery Team at the City of London Police, warned against investment opportunities that seem too good to be true. She underscored the need for research and cautioned against yielding to pressure from brokers, highlighting the bullish tactics and insatiable greed behind such fraudulent schemes.

The fraudulent investment involved depositing funds with the company, and purportedly trading them on the binary options market to generate profits for both investors and the company. However, the reality revealed during the trial exposed a Ponzi scheme, as the trading platform used by Choice Option was not connected to a banking system, leaving investors’ funds at the disposal of the defendants.

By October 2016, clients were unable to access their accounts, contact company staff, or withdraw their funds, leading to suspicions about the legitimacy of the trading company. The City of London Police were alerted in February 2016.

The ‘brokers’ used aliases when communicating with clients, drawing inspiration from characters such as ‘Jonathan Hart from Hart to Hart, ‘Miles Richards from The Riot Club, and ‘Harvey Specter from Suits. Former employees at Choice Option also utilized aliases ‘Alister Ryle’ and ‘Harry Villiers’ from The Riot Club.

The City of London Police urged potential investors to seek advice from independent financial advisors and exercise caution to avoid falling victim to such scams.

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