Ninth man sentenced for "subtle and cruel" £4.3m fraud investigated under Operation Cotton

Catherine Neilan
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Operation Cotton was one of the largest FCA investigations of its kind (Source: Getty)
A ninth man has been sentenced for his role in a multi-million pound fraud.
Adam Hawkins has been given six years and nine months for his involvement in running an unathourised fund at companies called variously Plott UK, European Property Investments and Stirling Alexander. The men were found to have conned £4,3m out of 110 investors "and none of them have seen a return”.
He was a salesman and manager at the companies, which Judge Leonard said practiced a “very substantial and deliberate fraud on the public”, which was “subtle and cruel” in its operation.
The judge added: “Two days before you started at Plott you were arrested for a very similar matter. You came to Plott with your eyes wide open. Rather than running a mile from the activities of Plott, you endorsed their fraudulent activities and worked hard to achieve their fraudulent aims.”
Confiscation proceedings are being pursued against all defendants.
Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “This investigation and prosecution by the FCA has led to immediate custodial sentences for eight people totalling 32 years and nine months, showing how seriously the courts view this kind of offending. This prosecution demonstrates that we will not shy away from taking firm and decisive action to protect consumers and the integrity of the financial services industry, as well as holding individuals and companies to account for illegal investment activities.”

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