Friday, January 16, 2009
Huge fraud – just the start
Five buy-to-let con artists have pleaded guilty to defrauding property investors out of an estimated £80 million in a Ponzi-style scheme. The former directors of three Gateshead-based property companies used their victims’ money to fund a lavish lifestyle in a scam that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) described as “simply staggering”. The five fraudsters sold about 4,000 residential properties, mostly in the North East, to 1,750 investors through their companies PPP Ltd. In return for an investment of around £25,000, PPP promised to purchase a house in an “up-and-coming area” that would be refurbished, let to reputable tenants and managed on the landlord’s behalf. Investors were also told that an insurance policy was in place to protect their returns during tenancy void periods.