Phillip Boakes sentenced following FCA prosecution

Following an FCA prosecution, Phillip Boakes was today sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to ten years’ imprisonment for defrauding investors of at least £3.5m, using false instruments and accepting deposits without authorisation.

Boakes pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulent trading, three counts of using a forged instrument and, having previously admitted an offence of accepting deposits without authorisation on 31 October 2014.

In sentencing, HHJ Lorraine-Smith said, “This was a classic Ponzi scheme over a number of years with a large number of victims. Lives have been changed and life savings have been lost. Boakes and his family lived a lavish lifestyle that he could not begin to afford but for his fraudulent activities.”

The Judge also remarked on Boakes’ attempts to stop investors from assisting the FCA’s investigation.

Boakes ran a scam through his company CurrencyTrader Ltd, which claimed to carry out foreign exchange spread betting for its customers. The scam encouraged people to invest on the promise of guaranteed annual returns of 20% or more. In reality, Boakes was not authorised by the FCA to accept deposits and the pledge of guaranteed returns was a sham. The ‘returns’ were funded from the deposit itself or from funds received from new investors.

Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight, said:

“Using fraud and forged documents, Boakes took in those who trusted him to invest their money. He promised fantastic returns but, as is so often the case with unauthorised investment schemes, those who invested ended up with significant losses.

“We will not hesitate to take the strongest action to ensure that consumers are protected and individuals are held to account for actions that undermine the integrity of the financial services industry.”

Boakes had previously been an FCA approved Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) and he to misled some of his investors into thinking that he was still an IFA.

In total, at least 30 investors entrusted Boakes with over £3.5m. The sums lost by the individuals ranged from approximately £10,000 to £700,000.

Eventually the scheme collapsed and investors lost over £2.5m. Approximately £1.3m was spent by Boakes on his lifestyle, of which £175,218 was spent on cars and £213,659 on foreign holidays.

Boakes’ trading was unsuccessful: of the total £2.1m actually traded by him, almost £1m was lost. Boakes has admitted that between October 2002 and January 2013 he failed to trade investors’ money as promised, lied about the value of funds and the returns they would generate, and used client funds for his own benefit. In addition, he used forged documents to support the fraud.

Notes to editors

  1. Boakes was sentenced to four years for the first count of fraudulent trading and six years for the second count of fraudulent trading to run consecutively. He also received sentences of four years for each of three offences of using false instruments and one year for accepting deposits without FCA authorisation, all to run concurrently. In sentencing, HHJ Lorraine-Smith noted that Boakes’ sentence would have been 13-14 years without the discount for early pleas.
  2. All remaining counts on the indictment were ordered to lie on the file.
  3. This is the longest total sentence imposed as a result of any FCA or FSA prosecution.
  4. On the 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  5. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  6. Find out more information about the FCA.