The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has urged victims of an unauthorised land banking scheme to contact the regulator so it can return their funds.
Between 2005 and 2010, Countrywide Land Holdings, James Maynard (trading as Regional Land and Countrywide Land) and Stephen Watkins (trading as Consolidated Land) scammed around £32.8m ($43m, €38m) in unauthorised collective investment schemes from around 870 investors.
The schemes involved the unlawful selling of land.
High Court Ruling
In 2012, the High Court ruled that the businesses had to repay their investors; but the FCA has, so far, only received around £2.5m from a related Panama-based company, Paradigm Consultancy.
There was no information provided by the FCA to indicate how it intends to collect the outstanding sums from the other companies involved in the schemes.
Victims of the schemes need to contact the watchdog to ensure that they don’t miss out on potentially getting their money back.
To date, only 392 of the 870 individuals involved have done so.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “We will work to resolve this matter and return funds to eligible investors as soon as is possible, but we need to demonstrate to the court that we have taken reasonable steps to identify everyone affected.”