A fraudster called the “controlling mind” in a £1.4m boiler room scam has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Samrat Bhandari, one of four men previously operating the scheme, also cannot hold a director position at a firm or company for 12 years.
Bhandari, who was convicted after a 49-day trial at the Southwark Crown Court, had offered to repay the investors in the scheme but later withdrew his offer in a move described by the judge as “another example of your manipulative nature”
FCA enforcement and market oversight director Mark Steward says: “Mr Bhandari was the controlling mind in this scheme and he deliberately abused his position as a corporate advisor to exploit hundreds of vulnerable investors for his personal gain.”
Steward says: “This prosecution by the FCA reflects our commitment to protect investors by bringing the operators of unauthorised investment schemes such as this to justice and the sentence shows how seriously the courts view this kind of offending.”
Along with Dr Aleem Mirza, Michael Moore and Paul Moore who are also serving prison sentences following earlier hearings, Bhandari targeted elderly investors through the misselling of shares in purported healthcare solutions company, Symbiosis Healthcare.
The investment scheme, involving pressure sales and exaggerated promotional material, was carried out by Bhandari though his professional capacity as director of William Albert Securities, which saw him working as a corporate adviser to Symbiosis.
Bhandari will be concurrently serving three sentences, two of three and a half years and one of 15 months on three separate counts.
The FCA was helped in the investigation and prosecution by a number of other law enforcement and Government agencies, including the City of London Police, as well as by a number of investors in the scheme.