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FCA charges eight men with land banking fraud

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The Financial Conduct Authority has charged eight men with land banking fraud and carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation.

The offences relate to the period between August 2008 and November 2011 and arise out of Operation Cotton, an FCA investigation into land banking firms.

Scott Crawley, Daniel Forsyth, Ross Peters, Aaron Petrou, Ricky Mitchie, Dale Walker, Adam Hawkins and Brendan Daley have been bailed to attend City of London Magistrates Court on 10 May.

Walker, who is a solicitor at Dale R Walker Solicitors, has also been charged with money laundering and Forsyth has been charged with providing false information to the FSA.

The three companies involved in Operation Cotton are Plott UK, European Property Investments and Stirling Alexander. The FCA says these companies are believed to have taken over £5m from UK investors between 2008 and 2011.

Plott UK and EPI faced compulsory winding up orders in June 2011 and December 2012 respectively after the FSA pursued civil action.

Land banking companies divide land into smaller plots to sell it to investors on the basis that once it is available for development it will soar in value. But the land is often in areas of natural beauty or historical interest, with little chance of it being built on.


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