Jessica Fino 1 Dec 2017 01:20pm

Four people found guilty of scamming investors

Four people have been found guilty of operating an investment scheme which led to more than 300 investors losing a total of £1.4m

Following an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the court found that Samrat Bhandari and Dr Muhammad Aleem Mirza were guilty of misleading investors into a “worthless” investment scheme that they had set up.

At an early court hearing, brothers Michael and Paul Moore also pleaded guilty to offences in relation to the same scheme.

Albene Mendy was found not guilty at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday.

The court found that between 2009 and 2014, the accused mis-sold shares in Symbiosis Healthcare to investors, many of whom were vulnerable or retired individuals.

Symbiosis was set up by Mirza, a medical doctor, and Bhandari, who was a director of William Albert Securities (WASL), which acted as corporate advisors to Symbiosis and organised the selling of its shares. Mendy also worked for WASL, while the Moore brothers were brokers selling shares in Symbiosis to investors.

Despite promising large profits to investors, the shares in the company were worthless, and investors lost around £1.4m as a result.

The FCA said that investors were misled directly, on the phone, in correspondence, in person, at annual general meetings and through creating and publishing written statements and promotional material by or on behalf of Symbiosis.

Mark Steward, director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said, “Misleading financial promotions relating to investment schemes cause untold harm to consumers. The FCA is determined to ensure those who are involved in setting up and operating schemes like this one, without FCA authorisation, are identified and held to account to the fullest extent permitted by law.

“In due course confiscation proceedings will be commenced, with a view to securing as much compensation as possible for those who have suffered a loss as a result of this criminal conduct.”

The four individuals will be sentenced between 19 and 20 December at Southwark Crown Court.