Marbella “boiler-rooms” have been springing up on the coast for many years. The plan is simple: setup an office, fit some phone lines, open the phone directory and start calling. Property, land, cars, stocks and much more have been touted by these criminals but time has been called for seven of these fraudsters.
Yesterday, a court in Ipswich, UK, sentenced staff and directors of Worldwide Bio Refineries to a total of 40 years in prison for their part in an £8m fraud.
The Spanish-based operation targeted investors in the UK using high pressure sales techniques to sell shares in the bio-diesel investment company.
Worldwide Bio Refineries was formed in 2003 by Dennis Potter, from Singapore, and Redmond “Ray” Charles Johnson. Potter received seven years for his part in the fraud. Johnson received three years after pleading guilty and assisting in the investigation. Both received a 12 year ban from acting as company directors.
Marbella based Steven Murphy and Greg Pearson both received six years imprisonment. Paul Murphy and Lee Homan, based in Hertfordshire, received six years and five and a half years respectively.
Londoner Peter Bibby is on the run and was tried and sentenced in his absence to six years imprisonment and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
WBR did have a processing plant in Co. Durham but produced no usable output and the company bank account reportedly contained a mere £20.
The presiding judge said “This was a well planned, sophisticated, and well executed fraud dressed up in the language of legitimate business. It involved deliberate targeting of a particular group of investors. The directors actions amount to a breach of trust of the investors. They had a long lasting effect on the victims who lost their savings.”