A couple of financial advisers who committed a series of fraud offences have been sentenced at Southwark Crown Court following an investigation by Cumbria Constabulary.
Simon Silva Peake pleaded guilty of seven counts of fraud in 2022 and was sentenced to 30 months. Anton Taylor was convicted of eight charges following a six-week trial which began in January 2023 at Southwark Crown Court. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
The duo were both IFAs and directors of Quintillion Asset Management. They were also co-directors of an offshore fund called Kratos Enterprises based in the British Virgin Islands.
The constabulary led the investigation as the company the men worked for when they carried out the frauds – Quintillion Asset Management – was registered in Cumbria. However, the investigation identified victims across the UK.
They sought investment to the overseas fund from clients and invested their money. In many cases, this involved client pension funds, Cumbria Police said.
The duo transferred the money overseas into the Kratos fund. However, instead of investing the money into intellectual property schemes they “transferred it back into the Quintillion Asset Management account to prop up and sustain the business as well as pay themselves huge salaries over a three-year period”, it added.
In most cases, they didn’t declare their conflict of interest, being directors of both companies, and didn’t ask permission to transfer the money. Their clients were all advisory low-medium risk investors so should have never had their money invested in a high-risk scheme like Kratos.
Both men stole their clients’ money totalling nearly £2m ($2.53m, €2.34m) over a three-year period.
John Robinson, detective constable of Cumbria Constabulary’s Serious Organised Crime Unit, said: “This was an extremely complex investigation which identified many victims from across the country.
“The investigation focused specifically on the overseas Kratos fund as this was clearly a Ponzi fraud scheme.
“The directors simply stole client money from their pension funds, sent it overseas before returning it into the Quintillion bank account and used the money to prop up the UK business and pay themselves large salaries.
“The actions of Peake and Taylor were catastrophic for those who trusted their money to them, with many having lost significant sums through their fraudulent behaviour.”