The Financial Conduct Authority has agreed a High Court settlement to return around £380,000 to investors in a land bank.
The case concerned St Clair Estates which owned a disused airfield in Winkleigh, Devon and divided it into separate plots in 2006.
The FCA believes more than 70 investors paid between £6,000 and £12,000 for each individual plot of land. The total value of land sold was £2,209,296.
The plots were sold St Clair Estates, former director Elizabeth Fischer, OFG Investments, Option Land UK, GIG Properties, Mehmet Husnu and Ali Seytanpir.
They have agreed to pay the full FCA claim and have accepted a court-imposed restraining order preventing them from selling Ucis or land schemes again. The FCA is now seeking a High Court order to pass the money back to investors.
FCA enforcement and financial crime director Tracey McDermott says it is a “bitter sweet” outcome and acts as a warning against investing in Ucis schemes.
She says: “While investors will only get a fraction of their money back, the settlement represents a better outcome than would have been achieved for consumers if the FCA had fought the case all the way to a final hearing.”
Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says: “As disappointing as the losses are for investors, it is a return. If there were no consequences then clients would continue to invest in rubbish. There are consequences when people invest in something they don’t understand.”