Gang jailed over £35.8m land banking fraud

Four men been jailed for up to seven years each for defrauding over 400 investors out of £35.8m in what is said to be the biggest land banking scam to come to court.

Ponzi Scam Fraud Gavel Law 480

The Sunday Times reports the four men unlawfully sold plots of land to UK investors between 2005 and 2010.

Daniel Webster, Stephen Allan and Steven Percival were found guilty of fraud at Southwark Crown Court, while Christopher Demetriou admitted the charge. They were sentenced last week.

The men operated from a company marketed as Countrywide Land Holdings Ltd, Countrywide Land Holdings and Regional Land.

In March 2012 the FSA secured a High Court judgment against Countrywide Land Holdings and another individual, James Kenneth Maynard.

At the time Maynard was banned for life from selling land for business purposes in the UK and he and Countrywide Land Holdings were ordered to pay £31,896,194. A bankruptcy order was also made against Maynard who was believed to be living in Northern Cyprus.

The regulator said last year it was unlikely investors would get their money back as it had not identified any assets that would enable more than a small proportion of payments to be made.