The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has confirmed it is investigating the Alpha and Green Park group of companies, which are suspected of fraud and money laundering.
On 29 September, following a six-month investigation, the SFO and Cleveland Police carried out a series of co-ordinated raids, interviews and mandatory requests for evidence.
Multiple properties were searched, culminating in one arrest.
The SFO also issued several Section 2 notices, which compel companies to provide information.
UK-based investors will be contacted by investigators who will ask them to fill out a questionnaire by 30 November.
Profitable for the directors
The SFO said it suspects the Alpha-branded companies of fraudulently misleading investors into buying leaseholds for student accommodation in Leicestershire, Lancashire, Staffordshire and West Yorkshire.
The Green Park-branded companies conducted a similar scheme but with holiday accommodation in Devon.
In total, 27 schemes are under investigation.
Between 2014 and 2019, the companies sold investments into leasehold units. Investors were promised between 8-10% return over the first 10 years.
Over 1,500 investors from around 50 countries invested an estimated £150m ($202m, €174m).
Payments stopped in 2018, but the company directors are thought to have pocketed around £20m.
Commenting on the case, Mick Gallagher, chief investigator at the SFO, said: “Thousands of ordinary people lose their pensions or life savings on risky schemes, while those at the top line their own pockets and enjoy a lavish lifestyle.
“The Serious Fraud Office is committed to delivering justice for victims of fraud and corruption. We invite anyone who believes they have a connection with our investigation to come forward.”
More details about the questionnaire can be found here.