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SFO convicts trio of £45m Ponzi fraudsters

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Authorities have secured a trio of convictions over a conspiracy to defraud investors as part of a London-based Ponzi scheme.

Two men were convicted at Southwark Crown Court yesterday, while a third plead guilty ahead of the trial.

The three men lured investors to put money into Saunders Electrical Wholesale Ltd, which they claimed supplied electrical goods to hotel chains.

While the business did, in fact, supply goods to high profile hotels, the SFO found that the trade was minor, and far below the levels reported to investors.

Spencer Mitchell Steinberg, 46, of Radlett and Michael Dean Strubel, 54, of South London, were both convicted yesterday.

Jolan Marc Saunders, 39, of Buckhurst Hill, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud and acting as a director of a company while disqualified in July.

Saunders ran SEWL, which was based in Hainault, Essex, and attracted investors by claiming that the credit crisis had made it difficult to obtain financing from banks for goods for which the company had already received orders.

From early 2006, he told investors that the firm could make bigger profits if orders could be completed quickly, and with higher returns, while obtaining finance from the banks would take time.

SFO director David Green says: “These three individuals preyed on investors, including vulnerable victims from their own communities. They had parted with tens of thousands of pounds, and in some instances their life savings.”

Sentencing will take place at a later date.

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