Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by GOOLISTAN COOPER goolistan.cooper@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @Coop_­dog

A CONMAN from Hayes who was part of a five-man team in­vest­ment fraud scam that tricked more than 70 peo­ple into hand­ing over a to­tal of £1.7 mil­lion has been jailed.

Dean Hempseed was sen­tenced to five years im­pris­on­ment for con­spir­acy to de­fraud at South­wark Crown Court on Mon­day.

His gang tar­geted el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple with cold calls in a bid to buy green in­vest­ments.

The scam even in­cluded a glossy mag­a­zine which quoted Barack Obama.

Alan Mill, from High Street, Rain­ham, Paul Thomp­son from Park­side Av­enue, Brom­ley, Daniel Forsyth from Kingsleigh Walk, Brom­ley, and Aaron Petrou from Norsted Lane, Or­p­ing­ton, were also sen­tenced for their part in the scam af­ter en­ter­ing guilty pleas.

De­tec­tives in the Metropoli­tan Po­lice’s Com­plex Fraud Team launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a com­pany called Tay­lor & Mills Ltd af­ter a case re­fer­ral from Ac­tion Fraud in 2013.

Anal­y­sis of the com­pany re­vealed em­ploy­ees were cold-call­ing el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the pub­lic, us­ing ag­gres­sive and per­sis­tent sales tech­niques, to per­suade them to buy green in­vest­ments known as “car­bon cred­its”.

To make the com­pany seem plau­si­ble, pro­fes­sional-look­ing, glossy brochures were pro­duced ex­tolling the virtues of car­bon cred­its.

It in­cluded a quote from Pres­i­dent Obama on the im­por­tance of green en­ergy, and was sent out to any­one who showed an in­ter­est when called.

The in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers dis­cov­ered that none of the vic­tims’ money was be­ing used to buy car­bon cred­its, but was in­stead paid into bank ac­counts in the name of Tay­lor & Mills Ltd. Hempseed, from Hayes, made a num­ber of false claims to per­suade at least 12 vic­tims to in­vest

Mill, 64, was listed as a di­rec­tor and share­holder of Tay­lor & Mills Ltd at Com­pa­nies House and his iden­tity was used to open the firm’s bank ac­counts.

The role of Petrou, 49, was to close deals and he used the pseu­do­nym “Giles Beau­mont” when speak­ing to po­ten­tial in­vestors.

Met of­fi­cers iden­ti­fied Petrou’s fin­ger­prints on a book he had given to one of the big­gest in­vestors in the scheme as well as other doc­u­ments sent to vic­tims.

Hempseed, from The Green and aged 35, used the name “Henry Parker” and was iden­ti­fied as another sales­man who made a num­ber of false claims to per­suade at least 12 vic­tims to in­vest in car­bon cred­its.

One vic­tim recorded a 35-minute tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion in which Hempseed said he could re­turn three times the in­vest­ment made within four months and con­vinced the vic­tim to in­vest £50,000.

Another vic­tim was tricked into in­vest­ing £700,000 in the scam.

Forsyth, 34, was iden­ti­fied as the com­pany’s ac­coun­tant, while 29-yearold Thomp­son al­lowed his per­sonal ac­count to be used to re­ceive al­most £50,000 from Tay­lor & Mills Ltd, which was later with­drawn in cash.

They were sen­tenced as fol­lows:

Alan Mill, who pleaded guilty on Jan­uary 9, was sen­tenced to 16 months im­pris­on­ment for con­spir­acy to de­fraud.

Dean Hempseed, who pleaded guilty on Jan­uary 9, was sen­tenced to five years im­pris­on­ment for con­spir­acy to de­fraud.

Paul Thomp­son, who pleaded guilty on Jan­uary 9, was sen­tenced to three months im­pris­on­ment, sus­pended for two years, for money laun­der­ing by con­ceal­ing crim­i­nal prop­erty. He must also com­plete 150 hours of un­paid work.

Daniel Forsyth, who pleaded guilty on Jan­uary 25 2016, was sen­tenced to four years and four months im­pris­on­ment for con­spir­acy to de­fraud.

Aaron Petrou, who pleaded guilty on Fe­bru­ary 18 2016, was sen­tenced to three years and eight months im­pris­on­ment for con­spir­acy to de­fraud.

De­tec­tive Sergeant Richard Ward, from the Com­plex Fraud Unit, said: “This in­vest­ment scam in­volved the use of ag­gres­sive and per­sis­tent sales tac­tics to ex­ploit vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the pub­lic.

“These men were mo­ti­vated purely by greed and showed a com­plete dis­re­gard for the fi­nan­cial loss and emo­tional im­pact on the vic­tims of the scam.”

From left – Daniel Forsyth, Aaron Petrou , Paul Thomp­son and Alan Mill

Dean Hempseed

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