David Shivmangal and Glenn Ward were sentenced on 20 January 2021 to three years and nine months and three years, respectively, for their involvement in a boiler room investment fraud.
This comes after they were found guilty of fraud and money laundering offences at Southwark Crown Court on 15 December 2021.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that they defrauded over 100 victims out of £2.47m ($3.4m, €3m).
The defendants were part of an organised criminal group which has been sentenced after a series of four separate trials, involving two separate frauds.
The CPS said: “One arose from the Capitol Finance Group which sold investments in a non-existent scheme to lend money to payday loan companies. The other involved the fraudulent selling of diamonds as investments which were worth only a fraction of their sale price.
“Both frauds were organised by the same individuals and operated from the same offices in Birmingham and London.”
The CPS added that Shivmangal and Ward were directly involved in the diamond fraud.
Elderly victims were “targeted using high-pressure sales techniques”, including cold-calling, where they were persuaded into investing in diamonds, with promises of high rates of return.
But the fraudsters had purchased the diamonds cheaply and then sold them to the investors at highly inflated prices. They also offered safe storage of the diamonds which allowed them to re-sell diamonds to different victim investors.
Shivmangal and Ward “controlled the account through which much of the fraudulent profits moved”, the CPS said.
The case was reviewed by the CPS, which brought charges after an initial investigation from the Hampshire Police, and then the South East Regional Crime Unit.
One of the unnamed victims said: “I am currently 75 years old and live with my wife who has dementia.
“I would describe the impact of losing the £35,000 as a major disaster. I invested this money to help to assist my family in our retirement and for financial commitments with our health.
“I now find myself and my family suffering greatly, physically, mentally and financially. The men who contacted me on the phone and persuaded me to invest my savings that I have worked hard for, I would describe them as scum.”
Roger Makanjuola, unit head for the CPS specialist fraud division, said: “This was a particularly unpleasant fraud, which resulted in vulnerable victims losing their life savings and impacted on their physical and mental health.
“The defendants had cynically targeted elderly and generally inexperienced investors. The investors were cold-called at home and pressured into investing money in schemes with the promise of high-value returns.
“The fraudsters presented themselves in a credible way and secured the trust of over 100 victims. The only people to benefit from the schemes were the fraudsters themselves and those who assisted them in laundering the proceeds of their crimes.
“I would like to thank the many victims who supported this prosecution and the hard-working Hampshire Police and South East Regional Crime Unit who enabled us to prove the case against Shivmangal, Ward and the others involved in their criminal enterprise.”
Both Shivmangal and Ward have also been disqualified from being a director for seven years.