Three men arrested over ‘boiler room’ fine wine scamBy Lauren Eads
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of running a “boiler room” wine scam from London whereby victims were sold fake fine wine investment opportunities with the promise of a 40% return on their investment.
City of London police officers arrested the men on 3 August at a business address in Fleet Street after uncovering the scam, which is estimated to have conned victims out of more than £1 million.
Detectives from the City of London Police’s fraud teams also searched two addresses in Southwark and one in Lewisham.
The term “boiler room” refers to an outbound call centre selling investments by telephone, typically using dishonest tactics to ensnare their victims.
In this case, victims were cold called by salespeople claiming that they would be able to get between eight and 40% profit by investing in bogus cases of fine wine.
In order to get more money, victims were told that investors were ready to buy their wine but that to make it more attractive they would need to purchase more wine first.
Detectives have been contacting victims of the company, some of whom were unaware that they were victims of fraud, as the company told them it was being kept in storage for them as part of the investment. Many of the victims are elderly.
“Boiler rooms continue to be a major threat to individuals in this country and statistics show that those who are over 60 are particularly vulnerable to this type of crime,” said City of London Police Detective Inspector Andrew Thompson.
“Fraudsters will do everything they can to manipulate potential victims and convince them that they are making genuine investments. “I would urge anyone who is cold called and offered investment opportunities to put the phone down and always do your research before making financial decisions.
Police began their investigation after receiving reports via Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber reporting service. So far, 39 victims have come forward.