A number of individuals were ultimately convicted of significant financial crimes by a London court, in part due to information and expertise provided by the FIB.
Lindani Mangena and his co-conspirators used a variety of scams to con unsuspecting victims out of an estimated 3.2 Million GBP. Most members of the group were found guilty of fraudulent trading, money laundering, and unauthorised investment business practises, and were sentenced to a combined total of 114 months in prison.
Mangena was found guilty of fraudulent trading, money laundering and carrying on an unauthorised investment business and was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. His accomplices Dean Hinkson and Curtis Powell were both found guilty of communicating an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity and were both given custodial sentences of 15 months. Jordan Huie was charged with communicating an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity, however no verdicts were reached by the jury.
FIB Assistant Director John Lavers stated: “The FIB is always pleased to support the efforts of the courts by providing expert witness testimony. We are encouraged that our services resulted in the successful conviction of a number of perpetrators of financial fraud.”
Commenting on the length of sentencing handed down by the presiding judge in the case; Mr. Lavers noted that there appears to be a definite trend in the UK courts to convict individuals to longer terms as a means of deterring others. Moreover, he added that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is taking these types of cases more seriously as they have been deemed to be in the public interest.
The details of the case saw victims offered various false investments and promised exorbitant returns of up to 25 times their original investment amount. Prosecuting on behalf of the crown, Stephen Winberg argued that the victims were: “much more ready to believe what they were told because it came from members of the same tight-knit religious community.”
Mangena and his gang used their religious affiliation as Seventh Day Adventists to win the trust of fellow churchgoers, and then proceeded to con them out of significant sums of money.
Mr Lavers noted: “The use, or abuse, of religion as means of persuading individuals to invest in scams of this nature is a growing trend. We are seeing similar illegal activity in the United States, Canada and Australia. These kinds of operations are increasingly well organized and international in scope.”
To date, police have recovered a total of 900,000 GBP and are still searching for the remainder of the money. Unfortunately, for the unwitting investors, as a result of extravagant spending by the fraudsters, over 1 million GBP has been lost without any hope of recovery.