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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Sentences in bio-diesel investment fraud total almost forty years

Not wine investment but an example of a boiler room fraud using cold calling and high pressure sales techniques. 

4 October 2011

Seven men, who collaborated in a Spanish based boiler- room operation, were sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court today to a total of 39 and a half years’ imprisonment for conducting an £8 million investment fraud.    Following a trial, six defendants were convicted by the jury on the 12 September.  Another pleaded guilty on 6 June at the start of the trial. 

This case involved the selling of shares in bio-diesel company Worldwide Bio Refineries Ltd (WBR).  Further background on the case was available in the conviction press release issued on the 12th September.

SFO reaction
Commenting on the convictions SFO Director Richard Alderman said, “I am very pleased with the sentences in this case which reflect the callous way the criminals preyed on their victims.”

Dennis Potter of Singapore (DOB 02/04/39) and Redmond “Ray” Charles Johnson of Tyne and Wear (DOB 19/09/44) were the directors of WBR.

  • Potter was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
  • Johnson who pleaded guilty under a SOCPA arrangement, (see note 3 for details) was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

In addition, Potter and Johnson were disqualified from acting as company directors for 12 years,’’

The remaining five defendants were boiler room operatives and their sentences were as follow:

From Marbella :-
  • Steven John Murphy (DOB 13/02/76) was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. 
  • Greg Pearson (DOB 26/08/73) was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

From Hertfordshire:-
  • Paul Daniel Murphy (DOB 28/09/73) was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
  • Lee Eliot Homan (DOB 02/07/72) was sentenced to five years’’ and six months imprisonment.

From London :-
  • Peter Bibby (DOB 01/09/67) of south London absconded and was tried and sentenced in absentia to six years’’ imprisonment. There is a court issued warrant for his arrest.

All of the five boiler room operatives were also disqualified from being company directors for six years.

In passing sentence, HHJ Overbury said of the fraud “This was a well planned, sophisticated, and well executed fraud dressed up in the language of legitimate business.  It involved deliberate targeting of a particular group of investors.  The Directors actions amount to a breach of trust of the investors.  They had a long lasting effect on the victims who lost their savings.”

On the prosecution case, the judge said, “This was a complex investigation carried out with the utmost professionalism by the SRB [case team] SFO and the Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary.  All those involved in the investigation are to be commended for their hard work and professionalism.”

This case was prosecuted by the Serious Fraud office in conjunction with Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies.  Confiscation proceedings will take place at court on a date to be fixed.

Notes for editors:


  1. Jim, Have the read this?

    Does this mean Vin-X are another wine scam company????

  2. Anon. Thanks for the link. It does not mean that Vin-X is necessarily a scam company. However, people should be aware of the background.