A husband-and-wife duo have been convicted for their respective roles in a £2.7m ($3.2m, €3m) investment scam.
Clint Canning, who used several aliases to run his criminal operation, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud and of money laundering on 22 December 2022. Eleise Wallace was found guilty of money laundering on the same date at Southwark Crown Court.
On 3 February 2022, Canning was handed a nine-year prison sentence, while Wallace was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and handed a rehabilitation order of 15 days.
They have also been disqualified from being company directors for 15 and five years, respectively.
The City of London Police found that the couple were part of a company called Base2Trade, which claimed to invest in binary options between 2014 and 2015, when it was shut down. 175 known victims were identified who invested a total of more than £2.7m; around 60% were aged 50 and above.
Almost all victims of Canning’s scam were cold-called to discuss making money by investing in his company. After the call, most investors received either a letter or email stating that the earning potential of their investment was of between £1,126 and £2,250 a week with an 88.3% success rate.
Once the victims made an initial investment, they were then given access to an online trading platform which claimed to show the trades being made. But such investments turned out to be fake as the platform displayed made up results and the police found no evidence that the trades were actually made.
Several victims made further investments on the basis of the performance showed on the platform, while others were told that their investments had to be turned a certain number of times before they could be returned.
One of them invested nearly £100,000 to help with income in retirement and received no return on their original investment.
The City of London Police discovered that Canning was in control of Base2Trade, while Wallace received investors’ money directly into her personal bank accounts. The money is believed to have been used to fund the couple’s “lavish lifestyle”.
Wallace was arrested in November 2015 while trying to leave the country and Canning was arrested at London City Airport in February 2016.
Detective inspector Gareth Dothie of the City of London Police said: “This has been a lengthy and complex investigation and we are glad that Canning has been brought to justice for his crimes.
“Canning, who uses a number of aliases including Christian Beauchamp and Clint Foster, was previously convicted for fraud and had a lifetime ban from being a director of a company. He has shown himself to be a career criminal and, in this instance, worked alongside his wife, Eleise Wallace, to defraud people and spend innocent victims’ money on their own lifestyle.
“We hope that the sentence handed down by the court today goes some way to help the victims rebuild their lives.”