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A man responsible for a £20.5 million investment scam has been jailed, following an investigation by the City of London Police.
Joseph Lewis, 65, of Thearne Lane, Yorkshire, was sentenced to 5 years and 4 months in prison at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 16 October 2020. He had previously pleaded guilty to 19 counts of fraud by false representation at a hearing in September 2020.
Lewis had been running his fraudulent investment scheme for a decade, persuading clients from across the globe to invest large amounts of money into foreign exchange trading, and keeping the money for himself.
Shortly after emailing his clients in December 2014 and telling them he had not been trading with their investments since 2009, Lewis phoned the police and admitted what he had done. He was arrested by City of London Police officers on 29 April 2015.
Detective Sergeant Lee Nelson, from the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Department, said:
“Lewis is an extremely manipulative and dishonest man. He knew his victims were investing money to save towards retirement or to make a better life for their young family, and instead he used their money to fund his own extravagant lifestyle. He also used their funds to put on lavish events and meetings across the world.
“I can’t even begin to describe the devastating impact this has had on people’s lives, many of whom will never be able to recover financially and psychologically. Lewis has destroyed marriages, family bonds and friendships, as these fraudulent investments often came from peer-to-peer recommendations.
“It has taken six years to get to this point, after a complex and challenging investigation, and I hope that the sentence passed down to Lewis will leave him with nothing but time in jail to reflect on his deceitful and greedy actions.”
Clients of Joe Lewis Trading were sent monthly reports, showing their investments doing exceptionally well. This encouraged victims to either invest more money, or recommend the scheme to friends or family, generating more funds for Lewis. City of London Police later found that the monthly reports were fabricated.
As early as 2012, some of Lewis’ clients requested the withdrawal of their money, but were met with delays and ultimately a failure to return the funds. He only returned the money to investors who threatened legal action.
Lewis only admitted to investors their funds were gone when he had used all of the money he had fraudulently obtained and was no longer receiving payments from current, or new, clients.