The FCA has secured two orders to return over £130,000 to victims of unauthorised investment arrangements and advice.
Members of the public who invested in an unauthorised collective investment scheme established and operated by Synergy Land Group Limited, between late 2009 and May 2011, will now receive money back after the High Court granted a distribution order to the FCA.
The FCA has recovered approximately £27,000 after Samuel Exall, Synergy’s Director, was ordered to sell assets. This will now be distributed to the Synergy investors.
Anyone who invested in the Synergy scheme and has not been in contact with the FCA or been notified by the regulator that a payment will be made to them should make contact by 17 July 2023 at [email protected].
Separately, the FCA has also secured permission from the Court to distribute funds obtained from Mohammed Maricar, sole director of 24HR Trading Academy Ltd. 24Hr Trading Academy provided unlawful contracts for difference (CFDs) forex trading promotions.
In September 2022, the FCA received payment of £106,650.58, from the Official Receiver, who was appointed over Mr Maricar’s bankruptcy estate. The sum will now be distributed among investors.
The FCA has taken an approach to ensure as much money is recovered for investors as possible. With this process now complete, the FCA does not expect further funds to be recovered.
Therese Chambers, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said:
'Tackling financial crime and securing redress for victims is a priority for us. Consumers should always check our Register and be very wary of unauthorised firms, as they present a very high risk with no guarantee of compensation if things go wrong. Often funds invested are completely lost.'
Notes to editors
- Case background - Synergy: Between late 2009 and May 2011, members of the public invested approximately £2.8m in an unauthorised collective investment scheme established and operated by Synergy Land Group Limited and its director, Samuel Exall.
- The Synergy land banking scheme was investigated by the FCA and in June 2011 the FCA commenced civil action against Synergy and Mr Exall resulting in the FCA obtaining orders freezing their assets and stopping the unlawful activity.
- Mr Exall was subsequently prosecuted by the City of London Police for conspiracy to commit fraud relating to his involvement in a number of land banking schemes and in October 2016 he was convicted and sentenced to 4 years in prison. He was also disqualified from acting as a company director for 7 years.
- Further detail can be found here.
- Case background – 24HR Trading Academy: In or around 2019, 24HR Trading Academy / Mr Maricar unlawfully provided trading signals to consumers for a fee. The trading signals were sent via WhatsApp and contained recommendations for trading in CFDs relating to currencies and commodities. Clients were also encouraged to sign up with CFD trading platforms via links, resulting in commissions being paid to Mr Maricar. The High Court found that this activity amounted to unlawful investment advice and unlawful arrangement of investments.
- In March 2021, the High Court Ordered that Mr Maricar pay £530,000 by way of restitution for the benefit of consumers. Mr Maricar failed to pay this sum, and so the FCA petitioned for his bankruptcy. A bankruptcy order was made, and the Official Receiver was appointed over Mr Maricar’s estate. In September 2022, the FCA received a payment from the Official Receiver totalling £106,650.58.
- Further background can be found here.
- For investors who suffered loss with regard to 24 Hour Trading Academy, the court order enables the FCA to distribute costs on a pro rata basis to those consumers who suffered a loss in excess of £500. For Synergy investors, the distribution will be on a per capita basis.
- A link to the Court's order in 24HR Trading Academy is here and in Synergy is here. A link to the Court’s judgment is available here.
- Find out more information about the FCA.