Seven jailed for £8m boiler room fraud

Seven men found guilty of an £8m boiler room fraud were sentenced to a total of 40 years at Ipswich Crown Court last week.

The Spanish-based operation targeted thousands of investors in the UK through high-pressure telesales techniques to push shares in Worldwide Bio Refineries, a bio-diesel investment company.

WBR had a processing plant in County Durham that purported to produce diesel fuel from vegetable matter. It also had a plant in Singapore producing diesel intended to be marketed in the UK.

WBR directors Dennis Potter, who was based in Singapore, and Redmond Charles Johnson, who was based in Tyne and Wear, both received jail sentences.
Potter was sentenced to seven years in prison, while Johnson, who pleaded guilty and offered to assist in the investigation under the Sopca agreement, has been sentenced to three years.

Both have been banned from acting as company directors for 12 years.

Boiler room operatives Steven Murphy and Greg Pearson, who were both based in Marbella, have been sentenced to six years imprisonment. Paul Murphy and Lee Homan, both based in Hertfordshire, were sentenced to six years and five years and six months respectively.

Peter Bibby, of South London, absconded and was tried and sentenced in absentia to six years imprisonment. The court has issued a warrant for his arrest.

In passing sentence, Judge Overbury of the High Court said: “This was a well planned, sophisticated and well executed fraud dressed up in the language of legitimate business.”