View more on these topics

FCA to recoup over £2m from Ucis fraudsters


The FCA has won its battle to get compensation for the victims of an unregulated collective investment scheme.

Eight men were convicted in 2015 after the regulator’s investigation into a landbanking fraud that cost 110 investors £4.3m.

The group operated unauthorised investment schemes through three companies: Plott UK, European Property Investments and Stirling Alexander.

The companies sold agricultural land to investors at “vastly inflated” prices with the promise of substantial profits which never materialised.

The group used cold-calling tactics to sell land they did not own at the time, employed “high-pressure sales techniques”, and lied about the land’s value, according to the FCA.

The scheme’s solicitor, Scott Walker, made nearly £900,000 alone from scheme, and was one of five men to be sentenced to a combined 26 years in prison in 2015.

The regulator has now secured confiscation orders against all eight defendants in the case, which is known as Operation Cotton.

Eight convicted in £4.3m Ucis fraud

Just over £2m will be reclaimed from the defendants and be paid in compensation to victims.

However, those who were defrauded can still only expect just over 40 per cent of the capital owed to them

Walker has received the largest confiscation order at £887,408.

Prison sentences will be imposed if the defendants to not pay up, but they will still have to pay the debt after serving any sentence.

FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward says: “The FCA will continue to pursue those engaged in financial crime, including advisers and other professionals who facilitate misconduct or who launder its proceeds.

“We will also take action, wherever possible, to address the harm caused by misconduct, including taking action to strip illegal gains from defendants for the benefit of those who have suffered loss as a result.”



Cold-calling ban is just the start of the war on pension scams

The Government has finally bowed to industry pressure and the weight of logic by confirming it plans to ban pensions cold-calling. While full details have yet to be published, the Treasury has also indicated providers will be given greater powers to block transfers to suspicious schemes. In addition, policymakers plan to crack down on the […]

FCA warns of email scammers pretending to be regulator

Email scammers using addresses that appear to be from FCA The FCA is warning consumers about a spate of scammers pretending to be from the regulator. The FCA yesterday said several customers had been called to ask for money, and were contacted from addresses such as Some of the fake emails contain the FCA logo […]

UK Currency Coins Sterling 450

DFM enters administration

3,000 clients may have to turn to FSCS to get their money back Investment management firm Strand Capital has been put into special administration, the FCA has announced. Strand has around 3,000 clients, and brands itself as a “modern discretionary fund management” service. It offers five risk rated portfolios from conservative through to adventurous as […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment