Fraudster jailed over £1 million investment scam

A fraudster who scammed dozens of people out of investments totalling more than £1 million has been jailed.

Ross Perry, 44, of Dover Way, Pitsea, offered fabricated low risk, high return investment opportunities with Global Water Group Ltd and Global Flood Defence Consultants.

The companies purported to offer investment opportunities in water technology.

But there is no evidence any of the money was ever invested.

Money was instead transferred from business accounts to personal accounts belonging to Perry, who claimed he spent the cash on a gambling habit.

Perry was appointed as the sole director of the company in October 2019, with the company entering voluntary liquidation in May 2020.

The Insolvency Service provided a list of 39 investors. Many of the victims were elderly and vulnerable and at least four have sadly died since they were scammed.

Of the investors, 16 victims provided statements to police and their collective loss totalled just short of £1,115,000.

Perry played an integral part in the investment scam by fronting the operation and contacting the victims, sometimes in person.

Investors would make enquiries online and then would receive telephone calls, post and e-mails including a brochure providing details about investment opportunities in water technology.

Investments were often made via a cheque, but some bank transfers were also made to various business accounts.

The victims even received a certificate of investment and receipts.

Some of the creditors received small monthly interest payments which soon ceased with no warning, and all communication from the company would stop.

Their money was traced to a personal account belonging to Perry.

Perry was charged with and admitted:
Fraud by false representation between October 11 2018 until May 13 2020 with Global Water Group Ltd.
Fraud by false representation between August 1 2020 until December 1 2021 with Global Food Defence Consultants.
Concealing, disguising, converting, transferring or removing criminal property between October 1 2018 and December 1 2021.

At Basildon Crown Court on Friday June 14, he was sentenced to five years and eight months imprisonment.

Work is ongoing to identify any assets Perry retains in order to compensate the victims.

Fraudsters carrying out this type of crime can appear very professional and use terminology and phrases which lead victims into believing they are a genuine company.

However, be suspicious of all ‘too good to be true’ offers and deals.

Don’t agree to offers or deals immediately.

Insist on time to get independent or legal advice before making a decision.

Always get independent or legal advice if an offer involves money, time or commitment.

Don’t hand over money or sign anything until you’ve checked someone’s credentials and their company’s.

Never send money to anyone you don’t know or trust, whether in the UK or abroad, or use methods of payment you’re not comfortable with.

Never give banking or personal details to anyone you don’t know or trust.

Always log on to a website directly rather than clicking on links in an email.

Don’t just rely on positive testimonials.

Carry out your own research. Find solid, independent evidence of a company’s success.

If you spot a scam or have been scammed, report it and get help.

Don’t be embarrassed. Scammers are extremely good at what they do and experts in gaining your trust.

You won’t be the only one who has been duped, and by reporting it you’ll make it more difficult for them to deceive others.

If you think you’ve uncovered a scam, been targeted by a scam or fallen victim to fraudsters, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the Action Fraud website.

Detective Constable Karen Venables, officer in the case, said: “This was a sophisticated and well-constructed scam, preying on often vulnerable victims for financial gain.

“Perry syphoned the money into a personal account, showing little regard for the dozens of people he exploited.

“Sadly, several of his victims did not live to see him face justice.

“The world of investments is extremely vulnerable to fraud. The most common investment scams involve fraudsters cold-calling their victims by phone, purporting to be from an investment company.

“They try to sell investments in emerging markets they claim will lead to financial gains higher than the rates of established investments like ISAs.

“In reality, the item offered may not exist or is worthless.

“Often the scammers give details you might think only a genuine investment company will have.

“They may have details of investments you’ve made, shares you hold and know your personal circumstances.

“Remember, the scammers do their homework and make it their business to know as much about you as possible.”