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Guilty pleas in £50m investment fraud

19 Rhagfyr, 2014 | Eitemau newyddion

Richard Aston Clay, a former partner of Arck LLP, pleaded guilty today at Southwark Crown Court to three fraud charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office following a joint investigation with Nottinghamshire Police.

The investigation concerned the creation and marketing of various unregulated financial products which were made available to individual investors through Independent Financial Advisers (“IFAs”) between 2006 and 2012. It is estimated that approximately £50m was invested in Arck products by individual investors and, in some cases, IFAs themselves.

Mr Clay’s business partner Kathryn Clark pleaded guilty in July and October this year to three fraud charges and two counts of forgery.

Joint Head of Fraud at the SFO, Jane de Lozey said:

“This was a complex and thorough investigation involving financial products which appeared innovative but were in fact part of an elaborate scam. It is another example of the misuse of pension monies and highlights the vulnerability of investors to these types of frauds.”

The SFO and Nottinghamshire Police, assisted by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, have worked jointly on this investigation since May 2012. The Financial Conduct Authority has also been assisting with the investigation.

Sentencing is due to take place on 20 February 2015.

Notes to editors:

1. Mr Clay pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud contrary to the Fraud Act 2006. It was ordered the remaining counts on the indictment should lie on the file. No evidence has been offered to count 9 as it is in the alternative to count 10.

2. Arck LLP is a Nottingham-based partnership that created and marketed property investment financial products. Arck is now in liquidation.

3. News release about the charges are available here as well as updates on the case here.

4. The SFO is a partner in a multi-agency campaign named Project Bloom to raise awareness of pension scams, details of which are available here. Other partners include the Department of Work and Pension, The Pensions Regulator, The Pensions Advisory Service, Money Advice Service, Financial Conduct Authority, HM Revenue & Customs, Action Fraud, National Crime Agency and the City of London Police.