Seven men are facing jail after being convicted for their roles in an £8m boiler-room fraud pushing a bio-diesel investment.
Based in Spain, the operation targeted thousands of investors in the UK, applying "high pressure telesales techniques" to push shares in Worldwide Bio Refineries (WBR), a bio-diesel company, according to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Dennis Potter, who lived in Singapore, was found guilty of conspiring to defraud investors in his company, WBR, during 2005 and 2006, while fellow company director Redmond "Ray" Charles Johnson pleaded guilty to the same offence.
Steven John Murphy and Greg Pearson, both of Marbella, and Paul Daniel Murphy and Lee Eliot Homan, both of Hertfordshire, were responsible for the management of boiler-rooms and were found guilty of being conspirators.
Peter Bibby of south London was also convicted for the same offence at Ipswich Crown Court, although he absconded before trial and was tried in absentia. There is a warrant for his arrest.
Incorporated in 2003, WBR had a processing plant in Co. Durham which was purported to produce diesel fuel from vegetable matter. It also had a plant in Singapore producing diesel intended to be marketed in the UK.
The share selling was undertaken by salesmen working from a number of boiler-rooms in Marbella and Barcelona, often using false names, and the business prospects of the company and the bio-diesel market were inflated by WBR's directors and the salesmen.
While investors believed they would net significant short term returns from a flotation, in reality the company had only limited imports coming in from Singapore and no output from its UK plant.
Of the £8.2m taken from investors, around £4m was transferred to accounts in Cyprus, Jersey and Spain for the benefit of the boiler-room salesmen, while Johnson, Potter and family members directly received over £710,000.
Both Potter and Johnson had previously been involved in another boiler-room fraud scheme.
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