A man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, after he was found guilty of conspiring to con dozens of investors out of millions of pounds. Michael Nascimento, ran a call centre where investors were offered shares in fraudulent companies. But instead, the court heard, how he spent some of the proceeds of his crimes on private school tuition, Arsenal season tickets and expensive trips.

For four years, Nascimento ran a ‘Boiler Room’, another name for a high pressure call centre, where investors, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, buy shares in companies with plausible sounding names. Some investors lost everything they had.

The name boiler room refers to an outbound call centre, which sells questionable investments by telephone. It typically refers to a room where salesmen work, using unfair, dishonest sales tactics, sometimes selling penny stocks, private placements or committing outright stock fraud.

They were promising investors, shares in a property development, opposite an exclusive golf course, and saying this investment was supported by global banks and global hotel chains. None of this was true. It was an elaborate scheme to con victims out of their cash. They were so plausible investors fell for it. They even produced glossy brochures, promising to double your money, sent from a real address. Docklands business centre, sounded very professional. In fact the address was a residential area.

Nascimento ran the scheme for four years along with his associates. While investigators were called in, Nascimento instructed his personal assistant to hide computers. She was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for assisting in the fraud.

Following the investigation, the FCA revealed proceeds from the scheme had gone into maintaining Nascimento’s lavish lifestyle, including expensive cars and lavish holidays.

Red Flag Warnings of Fraud

– Check for unusual transactions – Check your credit card and bank statements when you receive them, and make a habit of checking them online on a regular basis. Look for purchases you didn’t make and charges you don’t recognise and if in doubt, question them with your bank.

– Keep track of your mail – If you don’t receive something you had expected or regular bank or credit card statements, it could be a sign that they’ve been re-directed to a fraudster.

– Check your credit report- Many of your financial accounts are detailed in a credit report. This can also allow you to see if your information has been using fraudulently.

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