Share-selling fraudsters jailed

A COUPLE running a ‘Boiler Room’ share-selling scam from the Costa del Sol were arrested in London.

Nigerian George Abrue, a 30-year-old illegal immigrant tricked hundreds of Brits into buying worthless shares to build up a €25million crime empire. The ill gotten gains were spent on a jetset lifestyle that his British wife Sarah Robson documented on her mobile phone.

City of London fraud detectives raided Robson’s home and discovered her phone which led them to their secret €2.85million Spanish bolthole in which they found a collection of luxury goods including cars worth around €571,180. The photos depict them travelling the world, wearing diamond-encrusted jewellery, in luxury cars including a Bentley Continental GT, a Ferrari 430 Scuderia and a Maserati Gran Tourismo.

They bought properties in various countries including Sweden, the UK and Palma de Mallorca and the Costa del Sol in Spain. These photos will be aired in the two-part ITV1 documentary ‘Fraud Squad’ starting Friday August 26 at 9pm.

Abrue admitted to conspiracy to defraud and money-laundering at Harrow Crown Court in January and was sentenced to serve five years in June. He set up several fictitious companies including one called Bio Fuel Solutions Corporation and convinced thousands of elderly people to invest in one of Europe’s biggest share frauds.

Most of the victims lost more than €120,000 and others up to €970,885, costing them their homes and life savings. John Learmonth, aged 90, lost nearly €160,000, The Sunday Times published.

Other victims included a judge, a retired police man and various constables.

Robson, aged 26, was found guilty of the same charges at Newcastle Crown Court last month. She was sentenced to 21-months in prison. Robson was described as the group’s ‘English secretary’ and handled around €571,180 of victim’s money over three years. Seven others were also convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

“When we found the mobiles, it was like hitting the jackpot,” detective David Clark told The Sun newspaper. “One of the hardest things to prove with fraudsters is how the money was spent. But these people couldn’t resist documenting it all. That arrogance, greed and obsession with showing off their wealth was their downfall.”

Meanwhile, thirteen people were arrested in Santa Ponsa and Andratx for participating in boiler room share-selling scams last May.

By Nicole Hallett

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