Money launderers jailed for role in £1m ‘rare earth’ metal scam

Three money launders who pocketed a share of a £1m from a ‘rare earth’ metal scam have been jailed‎

The Commodities Link gave customers the opportunity to invest in baskets of valuable elements – known as ‘rare earths’ – when in reality the metal they were selling was almost worthless.

The group of south-east based tricksters charged between seven and 200 times the actual value of the metal, and asked their victims to pay some of their investments into accounts owned by Ike Obiamiwe, Daniel Jordan and Tarun Jain.

Obiamiwe insisted that he was a consultant who gave advice to businesses and told investigators the money in his bank account had come from a trading company in Dubai.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was able to prove the £87,000 in his account was part of the proceeds of the fraud.

Jain tried to deny his involvement by insisting the money had been put into an old business account, but the prosecutors found evidence of his involvement in the money laundering operation.

Alongside some purchases on iTunes, further investigation found that Jordan had syphoned £80,000 through his accounts.

On Friday 27 September at Kingston Crown Court Obiamiwe, Jain and Jordan were sentenced for three counts of converting criminal property, with a sentence of two years and six months for Obiamiwe and two years and four months for Jain. Jordan was given a 12-month suspended sentence.

Five other members of the gang were sentenced last autumn for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, with former directors, accountant Mark Whitehead and Darren Flood sentenced and subsequently issued with proceeds of crime orders for £50,000 and £190,000 respectively. Gennaro Fiorentino, who was also given a custodial sentence, has been told to pay back £130,000 or face an additional two years in prison.

Libby Clark, senior crown prosecutor at the CPS, said: ‘These men tried to hide what they were doing through lies or multiple bank accounts, covering the fact they were actually laundering money that had been gained through an elaborate fraud.’

Commodities Link ceased trading in September 2013 and was issued with a winding up order in September 2014. The company went into liquidation in March 2015 and Smith & Williamson LLP was appointed as liquidators.

The latest liquidators’ report on the defunct business at Companies House identified claims totalling £252,791 from 14 creditors, with total claims identified in the directors’ statement of affairs (SOA) of £537,240. However, the liquidators indicated that there was no likelihood of recovering the money, stating that ‘at present we expect that realisations will be insufficient to declare a dividend to unsecured creditors’.

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