The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has secured a confiscation order totalling £291,070.36 against convicted fraudster Mark Barry Starling.
Starling was sentenced to five years in prison in November 2018 at Southwark Crown Court for defrauding 17 investors of almost £3m. A total 24 people, who the FCA said were his friends and acquaintances, invested in his funds.
The fraudulent activity related to unauthorised investment schemes that Starling operated between 2008 and 2017, according to the FCA. The order will be used to compensate 14 of the 17 victims who lost some £1.8m in total. If Starling does not pay the confiscation in time, he is liable to spend a further two and a half years' in prison.
Starling claimed to be running three funds, the 'Pilot Dax Fund', the 'Shadow Dax Fund' and the 'Pilot Eurostoxx Fund.' He described himself as a proprietary futures trader.
He only traded £8,000 of the £3m invested with him, on which he made a loss of £2,450. The watchdog said Starling spent the rest of the victims' money maintaining his "comfortable lifestyle". In addition, the FCA said Starling resorted to forging documents and correspondence in order to cover up his deception and to prolong the fraud.
FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward said Starling was never authorised to carry on business as an investment manager or as a futures trader: "His sophisticated and dishonest masquerade has caused substantial losses to innocent investors.
"The FCA will continue to take steps to ensure that proceeds of criminal activity are confiscated from the criminals we prosecute so that victims can be compensated as far as possible."