Directors of Worldwide Bio Refineries were found guilty of illegally running a high-pressured telesales company pushing worthless shares onto unsuspecting UK investors.
72-year old Dennis Potter lived in Singapore and defrauded investors between 2005 and 2006. Colleague and co-director Redmond ‘Ray’ Charles Johnson, aged 67, pleaded guilty to the same offence, having given evidence for the prosecution.
Co-conspirators Steven John Murphy (35) and Greg Pearson (38) from Marbella, Spain and Paul Daniel Murphy (37) and Lee Eliot Homan (39) from Hertfordshire will also be sentenced along with South Londoner Peter Bibby.
Bibby absconded before trial and was tried in absentia. There is now a warrant out for his arrest.
Richard Alderman, director at the serious fraud office (SFO), said the SFO had worked hard to track down those responsible for this operation.
He explained: “Not only do boiler room fraudsters prey on vulnerable people; they also deprive genuine businesses of the capital they need to grow. Quite bluntly, they ruin lives.”
An evolving scam
Worldwide Bio Refineries was incorporated in 2003 and had a processing plant in County Durham that purported to produce diesel fuel from vegetable matter.
It also had a plant in Singapore producing diesel to be marketed in the UK. The directors were previously business associates to Robert Scott who ran another illegal business called Alternative Diesel Investments.
ADI also attracted investors through the use of a boiler room but generated no revenue, making it completely fraudulent.
Scott and ADI were subsequently investigated as one of a number of interlinked boiler room cases examined by the SFO. Scott was jailed in early 2010 as a result.