Sue Patten, Head of the CPS Central Fraud Division, said after three defendants were today convicted for their part in this fraud:
“This was a scam perpetrated by convincing fraudsters in which wealthy philanthropists were targeted with an investment scheme promising high profits for their charitable causes.
“Graham Dacre, a Norfolk businessman, was persuaded to hand over almost £12 million in 2008 to a supposed high yield investment scheme and had set aside as much as 42 million Euros to invest. He was attracted to the scheme by its apparent connections with religious and humanitarian charities.
“Any reservations the investors had were allayed by the persuasiveness and bluster of those involved as to how the scheme operated and the protection it offered.
“Central to the scheme was Hunt, a formidable fraudster who was willing to turn nasty to protect his interests. When Mr Dacre suggested reporting his concerns to the authorities, Hunt threatened him. Mr Dacre ignored this unfounded threat and went to the police.
“Not one penny of the millions defrauded has been returned to the victims. The CPS will seek orders to enable defrauded monies to be returned to their rightful owners.
“I would like to thank Norfolk police for their thorough and determined work in conducting what was a complex international investigation.”
The defendants were found guilty as follows:
- Ian Yorkshire: Two counts of conspiracy to launder criminal property
- Alan Edward Hunt: Two counts of conspiracy to defraud
- Arthur Trevor Ford-Batey: One count of conspiracy to defraud
David Fraser Roberts, Kevin Brennan and Martin Brennan were acquitted of the charges against them.
Despite asking the men to sign a trust agreement, once Dacre’s money was transferred to the Lichtenstein Landesbank, it was swiftly moved to Swiss, Turkish and British bank accounts.
In December 2007, the New Apostolic Church of Dortmond in Germany invested €10 million with the same fraudsters. They were led to believe the investment would double their money, allowing them to make significant donations to humanitarian causes around the world. Instead, the money was laundered out to a number of individuals, including the girlfriend of Ian Yorkshire, convicted of laundering the proceeds of the fraud. In one example, €100,000 of the invested money was shamelessly used by fraudsters to buy two Mercedes cars.
Defendant Alan Hunt convinced his victims he had previously been a barrister, a solicitor and had served in the Royal Navy. None of this was true.
CPS lawyers have worked closely throughout this case with German prosecutors as well as receiving legal assistance from Jersey, Switzerland, Australia and Turkey. CPS also received informal cooperation and assistance from the Attorney General’s Office in Northern Cyprus.