Today, before Her Honour Judge Taylor at Southwark Crown Court, Alex Hope was found guilty by a jury of one count of fraud, having previously admitted a charge of operating a collective investment scheme without authorisation on 23 April 2014. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) prosecuted Hope, who ran a scam which claimed to be making large returns for investors from the profits of his forex trading.
Georgina Philippou, Acting Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said of the conviction:
“Using fraud and false promises, Hope 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 and the main beneficiary of the scheme was Hope himself. There is a reminder for consumers here that unauthorised investment schemes are often incredibly risky and if the promised investment returns seem too good to be true they most probably are.
“Securing the conviction of Hope demonstrates the FCA’s commitment to achieving our objectives of protecting consumers and enhancing the integrity of the financial system.”
Between March 2011 and April 2012, Hope took over £5 million from investors, and used over £2million of this for personal expenditure. Hope told investors that he would trade their money on the foreign exchange (forex) markets. Hope held himself out to be a talented and successful trader who could make investors a return of up to 100% in just a few months. In reality, Hope’s trading was heavily loss-making. He lost over £500,000 of the £650,000 held in his trading accounts.
Prior to the trial, Hope’s co-defendant, Raj Von Badlo (also known as Raj Shastri), had pleaded guilty to an offence of recklessly making false representations to investors and a further offence of promoting a collective investment scheme without authorisation at a hearing on 22 July 2014.
Hope and Von Badlo will be sentenced on 16 January 2015 The FCA will instigate confiscation proceedings against both defendants.
The FCA will issue a further a press release following sentence.
Notes to editors
- The jury returned its verdict on 9 January 2015.
- Hope was arrested on 3 April 2012. Von Badlo was arrested on 29 May 2012.
- In these proceedings, the FCA was represented by Sarah Clarke of Serjeant’s Inn Chambers and Tom Baker of QEB Hollis Whiteman.
- 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).
- 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.
- Find out more information about the FCA.