A married couple have been convicted for their role in a cold calling investment scam which left victims with total losses of over £2.7m ($3.3m, €3.1m).
On 15 December 2022, Clint Canning was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of fraud by false representation and Eleise Wallace was convicted of a money laundering-related offence.
Canning was running a binary options investment company, Base 2 Trade, which claimed to be involved in fixed odds betting on the trading direction of businesses. If a potential investor correctly predicts the direction that the price of a share or asset will take, they will receive a return.
The company “often cold-called elderly or inexperienced investors with claims of how attractive a prospect this company was to deal with”, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
Base 2 Trade claimed to operate out of three offices in central London and some investors visited these premises and were sufficiently impressed to continue a business relationship.
The CPS said: “At first, the internet portal, which claimed to show the progress of investments, showed substantial profits being made so many victims invested more of their money. However, when investors tried to withdraw their money, investments, and alleged profits they were fobbed off by the company, ignored or told that for technical contractual reasons they could not withdraw their money.
“When the victims subsequently monitored the progress of their investments they would see massive losses and that their accounts had zero money left.”
Wallace “played a substantial role in the company’s management of money”, as she “received investors’ money directly into her personal bank accounts”, the CPS added.
They will be sentenced on 3 February 2023.
‘Callous and cruel’
Claire Busby of the CPS said: “This was a callous and cruel investment fraud which duped around 173 victims into thinking they were buying into a legitimate fixed odds betting scheme. Many of them were elderly. The scheme proved to be a scam, designed only to defraud victims of their money.
“The fraudsters presented themselves in a credible way and secured the trust of many victims. The only people to benefit from the schemes were the fraudsters themselves.
“I would like to thank the many victims who supported this prosecution, witnesses who assisted in bringing the case to justice, and the hard-working City of London Police team who investigated these defendants.”