On Thursday 9 September 2021 Richard Faithfull was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months imprisonment for laundering money, contrary to s.327 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was also disqualified from being a company director for a period of 10 years.
Faithfull had previously pleaded guilty to that offence on 16 April 2021 and put forward a basis of plea that sought to minimise his role in the offending. The FCA did not accept Faithfull’s basis of plea and the matter was listed for a Newton hearing – a trial of fact on a plea before a single judge – to determine the basis upon which he should be sentenced.
Following a 4-day hearing the judge, His Honour Judge Tomlinson, rejected the submissions made by Richard Faithfull’s legal team and accepted the FCA’s statement of the case.
Richard Faithfull laundered £2.5million as part of a trans-national organised crime group for longer than 12 months, laundering the proceeds of, at least, 7 professionally run overseas investment frauds.
The operation was sophisticated, utilising multiple accounts and front companies in numerous jurisdictions. Faithfull was able to use knowledge gained when he worked in the regulated sector - as an investment advisor - to help the fraudsters continue to defraud victims by paying fictional 'dividends' from bank accounts controlled by him to make it look as though the underlying investments were generating returns. He also involved innocent parties to help assist with his criminal enterprise.
To avoid detection he relocated to Ukraine where he lived a life of luxury whilst he continued his criminal activities, enlisting the assistance of local criminal groups abroad. Following his arrest, he spun a web of lies to try and throw the FCA off the case but at the hearing held last week he finally accepted that he was a 'thoroughly dishonest person'.
The sentencing judge remarked that it was 'serious offending' which was linked to the 'human misery caused by boiler room fraud' and that 'money coming in [to accounts controlled by Faithfull] was not being invested, it was simply being slaughtered'.
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said: 'Mr Faithfull’s actions showed little compassion for those affected by the underlying criminality instead seeking only to make a profit for himself and others. The FCA remain committed to ensuring that those who choose to break the law are brought to justice. We remind investors to check the FCA’s register are part of their due diligence when looking to make investments.'
The FCA will now pursue confiscation proceedings against him in order to try and seize his illegal gains.
Notes to editors
- Faithfull is to be sentenced re Essex firearms offences separately.
- This was a joint investigation with the City of London Police.
- Previous updates on the case.
- Newton Hearings are used where the 2 sides offer such conflicting evidence that a judge sitting alone tries to ascertain which party is telling the truth.