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Lewis Nedas News

Lewis Nedas Law are London-based solicitors. Frequently rated in both Chambers UK and The Legal 500, we can help you or your business today. Tel: 020 7387 2032.

New Instructions for Lewis Nedas Law Tax Investigation and Fraud Solicitiors

  • Sean Reilly is instructed to defend a client facing an allegation of fraud to the value of £2.5 million;
  • Unan Choudhury defends a client facing multi million fraud and money laundering allegations;
  • Jeffrey Lewis has been instructed to represent company directors facing a HMRC civil investigation;
  • Siobhain Egan is instructed to advise upon an internal fraud investigation into a well known charity.


Contact Lewis Expert Fraud and Tax Investigation Lawyers

If you are facing similar allegations relating to fraud or tax investigation, contact our specialist Lawyers on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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A Series of White Collar Crime and Fraud Investigation Defence Successes for Lewis Nedas Law and Siobhain Egan

Siobhain is regularly instructed to defend the full range of white collar/financial crime and fraud allegations. Over the last 10 months, she has successfully represented a number of individuals facing the complete range of offences including; investigations mounted by the SFO, City of London Police and other specialist fraud police units up and down the country.

Each of these particular investigations were effectively 'nipped in the bud' at an early stage, largely because of her pro-active defence work undertaken immediately upon being instructed by our clients. Such clients included; Directors of FTSE 500 companies or those whose companies listed on the AIM market, accountants, senior IT specialists and other finance professionals.

The key to success is to collate all of the relevant defence documentation as soon as possible, take detailed instructions, instruct all relevant independent experts to assess the information and to make robust and persuasive representations to the investigating authorities.


Contact Lewis Nedas Expert Fraud Lawyers

If you are facing an allegation of fraud or white collar crime, contact our specialist fraud defence Lawyers at Lewis Nedas Law on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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New Instructions for Lewis Nedas Law Crime and Fraud Departments This Week

  • Sean Reilly has been instructed to defend a client facing a large scale multiple defendant fraud prosecution;
  • Rhys Mardon acts for a businessman accused of sexual assault;
  • Siobhain Egan is advising an individual, subject to investigation concerning a particularly high profile fraud investigation, which has received national publicity.

Contact Lewis Nedas Expert Crime and Fraud Lawyers

If you are facing similar allegations, contact our specialist Lawyers on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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The Investigation of Ethical Investments and Fraud

SFOThe Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is the UK’s investigative and prosecuting body for dealing with cases of serious fraud and bribery. Owing to the increasing complexity with which fraudsters operate, the SFO employs sophisticated means to investigate suspicious activity. It recently featured in the press, with its criminal investigation into an “Ethical” Investment Company.

What is being investigated?

In March this year, the SFO announced that it had opened a criminal investigation into the dealings of two companies, Global Forestry Investment and Global Forex Investments, and their potentially fraudulent activity. Both companies are headed up by the same people: business partners Mr Andrew Skeene and Mr Omario Bowers, who founded their company GFI Consultants Ltd in April 2010. Following the creation of their consulting company, both gentlemen invited potential clients to a business event where they would give potential investors greater insight into available investment opportunities. Investors were given information regarding an allegedly lucrative investment project in Brazil, the Global Forestry Investments Belem Sky Plantation. The Plantation was described as having huge potential and which could grant a return of up to 20% to investors, through investing in sustainable forestry.

The project was described by Mr Skeene and Mr Bowers as allowing investors to “participate in an ethical and financially rewarding investment.” The investment was presented in the following manner: investors were to lease a plot of land on the timber plantation in Brazil. The value of their investment and the return they could expect was to be based on the trees growing on the land. The project used specialist timber management companies who would then lease the plots from the investors and manage the land on their behalf. The minimum investment was £5,000 with no upper limit. It was claimed that the Rental fees, which were to be £500 per 0.1 hectare plot per year, depending on the timber management company that the investor had chosen. This was to bring about a 10% return, with more to come in the following years. The interesting point to note is that in their literature, GFI Consultants Ltd did highlight (in the small print at the back of their brochure of investment information):

“GFI Consultants Ltd is not regulated by the FSA and is not authorised to offer advice to the general public concerning regulated or unregulated investments. This is not an authorised investment for the purpose of the UK FMSA (2000) and as such buyers have no access to statutory or regulatory protections including the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.”

In order to give effect to the investment, the land that the investors were to invest in was supposed to be held “in beneficial ownership for the investor” by an organisation called Title Trustees International, a subsidiary of a company called Hutchinson & Co. Trust Company Limited. Hamilton & Co. Trust Company Limited also had another subsidiary, Citadel Trustees which in 2014, changed its name to Highport Trustees.

In what was already becoming a complicated situation, another organisation entered the picture. Emerald Knights, sold the plots of land on the Belem Sky Plantation to the investors and it claimed to investors that Citadel Trustees was regulated by the FSA, even though Global Forestry Investments was not. Investors soon noticed that the investment quickly stopped making payments. In 2013 GFI claimed that this was due to “a cumulate of various factors”, citing severe weather, and a series of banking and logistical issues caused by the regulatory framework in Brazil. In early 2014 GFI claimed that the administrative issues had been resolved. However this did not appease investors who are reported to have lost over £4 million via Global Forestry Investments.

What is the SFO concerned with?

The SFO is concerned that there has been some criminal activity in the alleged ‘ethical’ investment that was being proposed by Global Forestry Investments Ltd, namely Fraud. The law of Fraud is set out in the Fraud Act 2006. The Act defines fraud as: a) The making of a false representation; b) By failing to disclose information if you are under a duty to do so; or c) By abusing the position which you are expected to safeguard. In respect of the activities of Global Forestry Investments, Global Forex Investments and Mr Bowers and Mr Skeene, the SFO will be looking for evidence of Investment Fraud, in that:

  1. They knowingly gave investors information regarding the investment that they knew to be false e.g. the likely return on their investment that they could expect;
  2. They failed to bring to investors’ attention that they knew would have an impact on their decision making; or
  3. In some other way, abusing their position as advisors on potential investments.

The investigation is still ongoing, and has already resulted in the searches on at least two properties in England. If there is any evidence of fraudulent activity, the SFO is entitled to bring both civil and criminal prosecutions against the perpetrators. A civil prosecution by the SFO can result in a substantial fine being issued, while a successful criminal prosecution could result in an individual being imprisoned for up to ten years.

The law of Fraud is very complex, and can be difficult to understand. It effectively looks to guard against any kind of deception that could result in either personal gain or loss to another party. The SFO has developed a very sophisticated structure to investigate cases of alleged fraudulent activity of both individuals and organisations.

Contact Lewis Nedas

At Lewis Nedas we have an expert team of financial crime lawyers, who are regularly involved in a helping clients deal with SFO and other regulatory investigations. We have many years of experience in the field, and work in partnership with our clients to ensure that they are fully advised on the law and how it affects them. If you have any concerns regarding the law on Fraud, or are perhaps concerned about how you or your organisation would be affected by an investigation, please contact us now. We are here to help.

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Gallery Worker Who Stole £150,000 From Till of Leading Gallery Sentenced to 3 Years Imprisonment

cash-grabDaniel Edgly was caught stealing £150,000 from the till of one of the country's leading galleries.

Edgly ran a ticket scam while working as a cashier at the Courtauld Gallery between 2010 and 2013. He would charge the £5 or £6 entry fee to customers, but cancel the transaction on the touch-screen till and present the customer with a different pair of tickets. He would then store the money in a separate part of the till to be snuck out later and deposited in a nearby bank. Courtauld, a leading centre of art conservation that is home to works by Van Gogh, Cézanne, Matisse, Canaletto and Degas and attracts over 200,000 visitors per year.

Mr Edgly pled guilty to the fraud at Southwark Crown Court and was sentenced to three years in court by the judge who is a great lover of art and the Courtald Gallery. Sentencing Edgley to three years in prison, he said:

"The Courtauld is one of the most wonderful institutions ... art, pictures and paintings are things that make life so much better."

The Courtauld is a leading centre of art conservation that is home to works by Van Gogh, Cézanne, Matisse, Canaletto and Degas and attracts over 200,000 visitors per year. Peter Zenner, who was prosecuting the fraud said it was; "a pre-planned, fairly sophisticated and sustained scheme".

Edgley would turn his back to CCTV cameras and use the log-in details of other members of staff to cover up his crime. He was caught when a temporary member of staff noticed him behaving strangely at the till and with customer money.

Bosses of the gallery held an investigation; checking CCTV and cross-referencing rotas with staff log-in times. Through this investigation they discovered that Edgley had taken between £130,000 and £150,000 over three years.

The defense for Edgly claimed this was as a result of a gambling addiction.The prosecution asked for Edgley to pay £130,000 in compensation but his lack of funds meant that he would not be able to meet this commitment.

Judge Price said:

"It was a breach of trust, it was planned, it was planned because you had a problem with gambling.You used other members of staff's logins, which put them under suspicion, which was awful."

Contact Our Specialist Financial Crime Lawyers in London

For specialist legal advice, please contact our solicitors on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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