Hurst Green fraudster jailed for taking £475,000 from 42 victims with fake company

September 13, 2018
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A fraudster from Hurst Green has been jailed for four and a half years after taking £475,000 from victims by luring them in with the hope of making profit on money they ‘invested’ in a fake company.

Lee Denton, of Pollards Oak Crescent, was jailed at Southwark Crown Court on Friday (September 7) for money laundering after his scam was uncovered by City of London Police’s Fraud Squad.

The 33-year-old was investigated after several victims, of which there were 42, reported problems to Action Fraud , the national fraud and cyber reporting centre hosted by the City of London Police.

Denton set up the fake company TB Options Limited in August 2015, stating that it was a binary options trading platform which invests in commodities like precious metals, oil and foreign exchange.

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Binary options are a type of investment where the customer guesses if the price of an asset will be above a certain price at a certain time.

If they are, the customer makes money but if they aren’t they lose the investment. Denton contacted victims through cold calling and told them they could claim a 20% profit on investments.

An initial minimum investment of £5,000 was necessary at first, they were told, and the victims were led to believe staff at the company would be deciding what price the commodity would be at the specific time.

Straight into his pockets

A spokesman for City of London Police said: “In reality, there was no binary options service being provided – Denton was receiving the funds into several bank accounts and a PayPal account he’d set up to facilitate the fraud, which he then withdrew via ATM machines and in-branch withdrawals.

“To further convince the victims that TB Options was a legitimate company, they were set up with fake online trading accounts so they could see how their investments were faring.

“These accounts could only be accessed by a unique username and password, which were supplied by TB Options.”

The victims were shown their investments were doing well which persuaded them to invest more money.

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When they tried to withdraw the money, which the company told them they could do at any point, TB Options would not do so and said they needed to have invested with them for 12 months before being able to.

The police spokesman added: “When TB Options were challenged by some of the victims about their investment, the company stopped all contact with them, their website was taken down and the company’s phone line was disconnected.”

A total of £192,000 was withdrawn from the company’s bank accounts and a PayPal account set up by Denton.

It was discovered that several thousand pounds was spent in bars, restaurants, high end hotels and on designer goods.

Denton used the remaining funds to reinvest back into the company so that it could continue to operate.

Detective Constable Rob Leete of the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, said: “Denton had no qualms in lying to these people to steal thousands of pounds from them, which for some may have been their life savings, and now they’ve been left with nothing.

“The investigation revealed Denton’s deceitful nature and he is now deservedly paying the price for his fraudulent activity.”

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/hurst-green-fraudster-jailed-taking-15146392


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