Spectacularly unsuccessful fraudster jailed for two years

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Fraudster Manraj Virdee was sentenced to two years in jail for running a ‘spectacularly unsuccessful’ investment scheme that netted £600,000 mainly from friends and family.

Virdee had promised guaranteed returns of up to 100% on the investments, based on his track record as a successful currency trader.

But as the only director of Dynamic UK Trades Ltd, his plans failed miserably and of the £600,000 he collected, £457,000 was traded and nearly all was lost or diverted to fund Virdee’s lifestyle.

Family and friends targeted

The fraudster mainly targeted his wider family and associates, taking money from them for an unauthorised scheme he called an investment package between October 2015 and November 2017.

He also entered into an agreement with one investor to manage £192,500 in spread betting trading, in which only £10,000 was used as promised.

Sentencing at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Pegden QC agreed with the prosecution’s description that Virdee’s trading over the two year period was “spectacularly unsuccessful”.

Virdee was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid community work.

The case was brought by the Financial Conduct Authority, which notified City of London Police about the fraud after complaints from customers. Police arrested Virdee in November 2017.

Nipped in the bud

Virdee admitted to four charges relating to misleading consumers, fraud and the illegal operation of an unauthorised investment scheme.

Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said: “The FCA’s prompt action nipped Virdee’s fraud in the bud and stopped it becoming inevitably bigger, causing greater loss to a wider group of victims. The FCA reminds investors to beware of anyone who is not authorised to carry out the activities they are offering.

“The FCA has taken out a financial restraint order against Virdee’s remaining assets and will pursue confiscation proceedings which will hopefully go some way to compensating the victims in this case.”

Dynamic UK Trades, of Talbot Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, was dissolved after a compulsory winding up in December 2018.

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