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Two men have been jailed for their part in a large scale investment fraud after they were found guilty by a jury, following a 16-week long trial.
Paul Seakens and Luke Ryan were part of a criminal enterprise that used high pressure sales tactics to convince victims to purchase worthless carbon credits at inflated mark-ups.
The worthless investments were sold through Enviro Associates Ltd, of which both Seakens and Ryan were company directors. Evidence recovered by police showed sales of approximately £2 million had gone through the company’s accounts.
Paul Seakens, 60, from Whitewebb, Enfield, was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison for one count of fraudulent trading and four counts of converting criminal property at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 28 May 2021. He also received a twelve year directors disqualification.
Luke Ryan, 33, from Eastleigh, Hampshire, was sentenced to six years in prison for fraudulent trading at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 28 May 2021. He also received an eight year directors disqualification.
Seventy three other fraudulent brokers used the bank accounts of three of Seakens’ companies to launder money from victims. Seakens would deduct a commission from the money paid through the accounts before transferring the rest back to the boiler rooms.
Financial analysis of bank statements showed well in excess of £30 million went through various company accounts controlled by Seakens.
Detective Inspector Paul Curtis, from the City of London Police’s Financial Investigation Unit, said:
“This has been a complex and lengthy investigation and I would like to thank the victims in this case for their resolve and determination in seeing it through to a conclusion. We have believed from the very beginning that the evidence clearly proved these carbon credits were sold fraudulently to investors, often through cold calls and high-pressure sales techniques to the vulnerable and elderly.
“The sentences passed down to Seakens and Ryan truly reflects the leading roles played by them. We hope that this significant sentence brings some closure to the victims. The commendation from the judge is also a testament to the hard work and dedication the team put into bringing this case to court.”
Addressing Seakens, Her Honour Judge Cahill QC said: “In my judgement now, you are a man completely without credibility. Not a single word that comes from you can be trusted.”
HHJ Cahill QC continued: “Whilst your victims had little exposure to you, and clearly trusted what they were told by the brokers, in the cold light of the evidence in this case, your dishonesty was laid bare and what you failed to appreciate is that for anyone hearing your repeated lies, half-truths, distortions of the truth and your complete contempt for the truth, and as the jury in this case did, there was only one possible conclusion and that is that you were right at the centre of this fraud, one of the masterminds behind it, and one of the recipients of benefits from it.”
Addressing Ryan, HHJ Cahill QC said: “You say you knew nothing about carbon credits but despite that, within a very few month, you were selling them and overseeing a team selling them. From the evidence of the investors, it is clear you and your team made untrue, false or misleading claims so that those investors parted with their money, believing in a commodity that you now say you knew very little about.”
HHJ Cahill QC continued: “One has to pose the question to you – if you knew so little about it, how did your conscience ever let you take thousands of pounds from innocent and trusting members of the public.”
HHJ Cahill QC also commended DC Kip Malek, DC Matthew Brown, DS Andy Stevenson and DC Tony Donbinson from the City of London Police for their hard work and dedication to the eight-year-long investigation.