Michael Nascimento has been sentenced to 13 years in jail for his role in a series of boiler room companies.
Between July 2010 and April 2014, the scammers cold called members of the public promoting investment schemes in Madeira. They promised guaranteed returns of between 125% and 228%, and convinced more than 170 people to hand over a total of more than £2.8 million. Of course, no one who invested ever saw any returns.
REDD-Monitor wrote about Nascimento in June 2016, after the Financial Conduct Authority charged Nascimento and others with conspiracy to defraud.
Five boiler room companies were involved in selling the shares: Morgan Forbes (UK) Ltd, First Capital Wealth Ltd, Bishops of Mayfair Ltd, Wallberg Dillion Reid Ltd and Sterling Capital Corporation Ltd.
Investors in Nascimento’s boiler rooms were told a series of lies, including that the schemes were partnered with Barclays Bank; planning permission had been obtained for the 20 villas; there was a guaranteed share buy-back; the Four Seasons or Hilton Hotel chains had agreed to buy the completed development for £43 million. None of this was true.
Nascimento’s actions were “despicable”
On 14 September 2018, Nascimento was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court. The Judge described him as showing “utter cynicism and contempt” for his victims. The fact that elderly people were specifically targeted was “particularly repellent”.
The Judge described some of the stories he had heard during the trial as “positively heart breaking”. Many victims suffered “life-shattering losses”.
The Judge said that, “despicable was not too strong a word” to describe Nascimento’s actions.
Ten days previously, five others were sentenced for their roles in the scam. In a press statement, the FCA lists the five as follows:
- Charanjit Sandhu was a senior broker. He used false names and often bullied the people he cold called into investing. The Judge commented that he had “lost his moral compass”. Sandhu pestered two of the investors “mercilessly” by telephone, the Judge said. His conduct was “cruel and callous” and “chilling”. Sentenced to nine years.
- Hugh Edwards recruited and trained brokers. He drafted misleading brochures and sent them to potential investors. He used false names and cold called people as a senior brokers. Sentenced to three years nine months.
- Stuart Rea was a director of Sterling Capital Corporation. He recruited and managed sales brokers, and circulated misleading brochures. Sentenced to three years nine months.
- Jeannine Lewis was Nascimento’s personal assistant. She helped him launder his profits from the fraud through several bank accounts, including her own. She hid and destroyed documents and computers to prevent the FCA’s investigators from getting hold of them. The Judge described her as “a thoroughly dishonest woman”. Sentenced to two years six months.
- Ryan Parker was a director of Bishops of Mayfair and Wallberg Dillion Reid. His personal bank accounts were used to launder some of the money. The Judge said that Parker had been “exploited in a significant way” by Nascimento. Sentenced to two years, suspended for 18 months due to his young age.
Jeannine Lewis was also a director of a company called Goldberg and Reed Limited. When the name of her company and some of the people working there appeared in comments on REDD-Monitor, Lewis wrote to REDD-Monitor asking for the comments to be removed. You can read her email and a subsequent email from Linton Slater, who replaced Lewis as director of Goldberg and Reed, here.
FCA’s largest fraud prosecution
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said in a statement that,
“This brings to an end the FCA’s largest fraud prosecution which has seen the perpetrators imprisoned for a total of 28.5 years, affording justice to victims who were the subject of their calculated deception. We are continuing to fight for compensation for victims out of their assets.”
The case involved four separate search operations and one unannounced visit. More than 100 computers and other digital devices were seized. More than 1.4 million documents were fed into the FCA’s Evidence Management System. Almost 300 witness statements covering 2,406 pages were taken. The evidence included 3,682 exhibits covering 23,642 pages.
Anyone who bought shares in Pearl Island International LLC (later known as Paragon Private Wealth LLC) or Berkeley Brookes LLC (later known as Atlantic Equity LLC) who has not already been in touch with the FCA, should contact the FCA (0800 111 6768 or via FCA’s online reporting form), quoting ‘Operation Tidworth’.