A former policeman who served Lancashire constabulary for more than 20 years has been jailed for his role in a £2.5m Ponzi scheme scam.
Ian Heed, 52, was one of the men behind a Cyprus based-boiler room that took the money from more than 100 UK-based victims.
He has been jailed for seven years.
Following a City of London Police investigation, Heed, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court having previously been convicted of acquiring criminal property and transferring criminal property while in Cyprus.
Heed, who spent time as a builder after retiring fom the police force, had an address in Beaumont Gardens, Carleton.
Also jailed were Heed’s accomplices in this country, Andrew Salvage, 55, from Hanslope, and Darren McDade, 38, from Daventry for four years and two years respectively.
Adam Brett, 32, from Northampton and Sam Maude, 26, from Milton Keynes received suspended prison sentences.
The gang, masterminded by Heed, helped service a ‘Ponzi’ scheme based on the fictitious trading of carbon credits, with investors lured in by the promise of high percentage returns on the money they put in.
Four Companies called Fast Corporate Solutions, Fast Corporates Solutions, Vero Energy and Oxford Sunergy were officially registered at Companies House and used the services of virtual accommodation offices to create the impression they were located in the UK.
To further legitimise the operation, professional websites and brochures were made available to investors.
The reality was that the recipients of the cold-calls were dealing with boiler room operators – high-pressure sales teams – based in northern Cyprus who were not buying any carbon credits.
Instead the money taken from victims was being channelled straight into a network of bank accounts set-up in the UK by Heed, McDade, Brett and Maude, where it was then spent on luxurious holidays and running the fraud in both countries.
Individual losses range from a few thousand to brothers from Tunbridge Wells, Kent who handed over a quarter of a million pounds.
Another man from Derbyshire lost £200,000 to the carbon credit ‘Ponzi’ scheme.
In November 2012, following receipt of a number of Action Fraud reports and a referral from the Financial Conduct Authority, the City of London Police launched a criminal investigation into the gang.
In January 2013, detectives launched a nationwide operation to dismantle the UK-side of the boiler room, making arrests in Lancashire, Milton Keynes and Eastbourne.
Detective Constable Jeff Gettings, from the City of London Police, said: “The gang believed that having the boiler room based in Cyprus would enable them to work outside the reach of law enforcement.
“However, thanks to accounts from a number of victims we were able to piece together and then dismantle the UK side of this operation which in turn led to the boiler room being closed down.
“It is vitally important that anyone who receives a cold-call from someone with an investment opportunity hangs up the telephone immediately.
“This is the best way to stay safe from the ongoing threat of boiler room operators.”