Fraudsters who conned pensioners out of life savings ordered to repay £370,000

The gang persuaded vulnerable people to invest in rare earth elements like these.Pic: Surrey Police

The gang persuaded vulnerable people to invest in rare earth elements like these.Pic: Surrey Police - Credit: Archant

Fraudsters who persuaded pensioners to put their life savings into bogus investment opportunities have been ordered to pay back more than £370,000.

The group's company, The Commodities Link, appeared legitimate with offices in Canary Wharf, glossy brochures and slick marketing videos.

They boasted of celebrity links - one of the group, 40-year-old Darren Flood, is the former brother-in-law of Victoria Beckham - and would send cars to take their victims out for meals.

But in reality, the Canary Wharf offices were just serviced offices and mailrooms, and the claims in the videos and brochures were lies.

And after being jailed for conspiracy to commit fraud in November 2018, Surrey Police have now been granted confiscation orders against five men.

Flood, of High Elms Lane, Stevenage, was ordered to repay £190,000, while his 39-year-old cousin Gennaro Fiorentino, of Wetherall Road, Hackney, must repay £134,614.80.

Mark Whitehead, 60 and of Thetford Road, Bury St Edmunds, was ordered by the court to repay £50,000.

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The other two men - Paul Muldoon, of Pin Mill, Basildon, and Flood's half-brother, 33-year-old Jonathan Docker, of Charlesworth Court, Chigwell - were both ordered to pay a nominal fee of £10.

In the case of Muldoon, 35, he does not currently have any assets but will be pursued by Surrey Police if he comes into money in the future.

The group took £800k by targeting at least 24 elderly victims, grooming them before persuading them to part with their money.

Police were alerted when one woman, who is in her 80s, asked her bank manager to help her transfer £100,000 to the fraudsters.

Detective Inspector Matt Durkin said: "These people destroyed their victims' lives without a second thought.

"They took life savings, left investors destitute and took away the confidence and independence of their elderly victims. They were professional criminals, essentially grooming the people they targeted over time, and thoroughly deserve to have each and every penny of their criminal gains that we've been able to identify taken from them."

He added: "The confiscation orders granted in this case now means that the victims will be compensated in part for their losses.

"It reinforces our message that as well as serving any sentence handed down by the courts, criminals can also expect us to hit them where it hurts - in the pocket."