Italy arrests 10 suspected people smugglers
UK court jails man for laundering ‘boiler room’ funds through Malta accounts
UK’s Financial Services Authority has sentenced a man from Richmond, North Yorkshire, to for four and a half years imprisonment, after regulators convicted him of laundering boiler room funds through Maltese bank accounts.
3 May 2012, 12:00am
The court heard how McInerney acted as a banker for fraudulent share sales orchestrated by three other accomplices, who have already been jailed.
Tomas Wilmot, Kevin Wilmot, and Christopher Wilmot controlled a syndicate of boiler rooms that defrauded an estimated 1,700 investors out of GBP27.5 million. They were jailed in August 2011 for a total of 19 years.
The prosecution followed a joint investigation, code-named 'Operation Slick', conducted by the FSA and the Economic Crime Directorate of CoLP, which also brought them to Malta and engaged with the Malta Finacial Services Authority (MFSA).
According to the evidence collected, the Wilmot brothers banked the proceeds of their fraudulent sales in two UK bank accounts in South East England, where they were based.
In late 2005 however, they decided to put some distance between themselves and the money; to do this they enlisted McInerney.
McInerney opened bank accounts for three different companies (Rock Solid Asset Management, Worldwide Assets Limited and Universal Management Services) which were purportedly for property management purposes.
Michael McInerney was jailed following a joint investigation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and City of London Police (CoLP)
In reality they were set up with the sole purpose of receiving the proceeds of boiler room fraud. McInerney arranged the accounts so that cheques could be accepted into them from a variety of different company names and GBP12 million was paid in to these accounts between January 2006 and October 2007.
McInerney arranged transfers of funds to accounts in Malta and Jersey, which were set up after companies were registered in the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Gibraltar.
In turn the funds were distributed to accounts in Hong Kong, Dubai, Canada, Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland, Slovakia, and Austria.
These accounts were operated by the Wilmots and others involved in their scheme.
At sentencing Judge Taylor said: "It was a serious and sustained criminal enterprise in which you played a sustained and vital part. From the time you were in receipt of victim information you can have been in no doubt of the type of investor or of the losses they would have suffered.
You were a willing and able participant and made suggestions as to how to make the process more efficient."
Tracey McDermott, the FSA's acting director of enforcement and financial crime, said: "This is another key step in our continuing fight against the serious threat to consumers that is share fraud. McInerney played a key role in the Wilmots' complex and elaborate con and he is now paying a very heavy price for doing so.
"This sentence sends a clear message that the court takes boiler room offences seriously and will hand down significant sentences to those involved in them."
The FSA recently announced that it was contacting more than 76,000 people named on an investment scam target list.
Share fraudsters, commonly known as 'boiler rooms', usually contact people by telephone and use high pressure sales tactics to con investors into buying non-tradable, overpriced or even non-existent shares.
Boiler rooms are unauthorised, overseas-based companies with bogus UK addresses and phone lines routed abroad.
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