On 14 July 2023 Peter Currie and Andrew Currie were sentenced to 5.5 years and 2.5 years imprisonment for fraud and money laundering following prosecution by the FCA.
Before its collapse into administration in February 2018, Collateral offered peer-to-peer style investments on a website fraudulently claiming it was authorised and regulated by the FCA. In December 2015 Peter Currie, a Collateral director, swapped the details of a separate company he had agreed to sell - Regal Pawnbrokers Ltd - for the details of Collateral on the FCA’s public Register. Over the following 18 months, the company was advertised as authorised by the FCA to encourage people to invest in loans on the Collateral platform.
In January 2018, the FCA notified Peter Currie that they had uncovered the Register change and ordered Collateral to cease unauthorised business. After this, Collateral not only continued to receive investments, but Peter and Andrew Currie also removed approximately £750,000 from Collateral client accounts.
At around the same time, the Curries appointed an administrator without informing the FCA as they were required to, and transferred £88,000 from Collateral funds. The FCA successfully challenged the appointment of this administrator in court. A new administrator appointed following the FCA’s intervention estimated that of the £17.9m in customer loans outstanding at the time of Collateral’s collapse, approximately £11m will not be recovered. This is because of significant shortfalls between the valuations applied to the property used as securities for the loans and the amounts the administrators have been able to realise on the market.
At the sentencing hearing, both defendants were also disqualified from being company directors.
In sentencing, His Honour Judge Griffith remarked in respect of Peter Currie that 'Collateral was built on foundations of sand and dishonesty' as a result of his fraudulent register change.
In respect of Andrew Currie Judge Griffith said 'the clearest impression of your actions …. was to get more money out to the detriment of investors.'
Steve Smart, Joint Executive Director of Enforcement & Market Oversight said, ‘Peter Currie fraudulently amended the Register to entice investors in, and together with Andrew, stole client money once they knew the game was up. Unfortunately, the investors will now be left to pick up the tab for the loans that have turned bad. The FCA has begun confiscation proceedings to recover the financial benefit obtained by the defendants, as well as compensation proceedings to recover investor funds. We welcome these significant sentences which show we will take every enforcement action at our disposal to pursue criminals and protect consumers.'
Notes to editors
- On 22 May 2023 Peter Currie was convicted of 2 counts of fraud (one by false representation as to the Register, one by abuse of position) and 1 count of money laundering and Andrew Currie was convicted of 1 count of fraud by abuse of position and 1 of money laundering at Southwark Crown Court following a 5-week trial.
- On 14 July 2023, Andrew Currie was sentenced to 2 years 6 months imprisonment for fraud by abuse of position and 2 years 6 months for money laundering contrary to s.327 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Both sentences to be served concurrently.
- Peter Currie was sentenced to 3 years 6 months imprisonment for fraud by false representation, 2 years for fraud by abuse of position and 2 years for money laundering contrary to s.327 of POCA 2002. Counts 2 and 3 to be served concurrently but consecutively to Count 1.
- Previous updates on the case.
- The FCA has invested heavily in the Register to strengthen controls and make it easier to use, with more information available to consumers.
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