Three men have today been sentenced to a total of just under 21 years in prison for running a Ponzi scheme, which defrauded investors of an estimated £79.5m.
Jolan Saunders, 40, was sentenced to seven years for conspiracy to defraud and one year, which will run concurrently, for acting as a director while disqualified. Meanwhile, Michael Strubel, 54, and Spencer Steinberg, 46 – both of whom have been convicted of conspiracy to defraud – were sentenced to seven years and six years and nine months respectively.
From early 2006, the three men, who are all British nationals, convinced people to invest money – in some cases in the region of millions of pounds – in Saunders Electrical Wholesale. They then spent the money on a range of luxury goods, including yachts and cars.
The men claimed the company was a very successful supplier of electrical goods to a number of high profile clients, including falsely claiming that the company was a preferred supplier to the Olympic village in the run up to the 2012 Games, when the business was actually much more minor than they made it out to be.
Jane de Lozey, joint head of fraud at the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), said: "This was a particularly pernicious crime where vulnerable investors from within the fraudsters’ own communities were targeted for huge sums, including, in some instances, their life savings."
Saunders pleaded guilty in July 2015, while Strubel and Steinberg were found guilty by a jury this February.
The men were charged in 2013 after the SFO's investigation, given the codename Operational Canon, was announced in 2010.