Victoria Beckham's ex brother-in-law and six others faces jail for £800k 'boiler room' scam
PUBLISHED: 11:47 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 11 January 2019
A gang of fraudsters, including Victoria Beckham's former brother-in-law, are facing jail today for carrying out a £800,000 'boiler room' scam from an office in Canary Wharf.
Stephen Todd, of Blackwall Way, Blackwall, Jonathan Docker, of High Road, Chigwell, Gennaro Fiorentino, 38, of Wetherell Road, Hackney, took part in the swindle that targeted vulnerable people and persuaded them to invest large sums of money in materials known as rare earth elements, falsely promising big returns.
The elements, rare earth metals and oxides, were practically worthless but were sold to TCL investors for up to 200 times more than the original purchase price.
Kingston Crown Court heard the other members were Darren Flood, 40, from Hertford in Hertfordshire, who was once married to the ex-Spice Girls star’s sister Louise Adams, Paul Muldoon, the main salesman for the company called The Commodities Link (TCL), Mark Whitehead, 60, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, and Vikki King, 39, from Basildon.
The gang cold-called their predominately old victims, and some were even taken out for meals, in attempts to persuade them to keep investing in TCL.
Jurors were told Muldoon “made great play of Darren Flood being David Beckham’s brother-in-law”, during his sales pitch to a victim who lost more than £62,000.
But Joanna Hardy, representing Flood, said her client had never used the link himself and had no contact with any customers in his role as director.
There is no suggestion the Beckhams knew anything about the fraud or about any use of the Beckham name.
Flood joined TCL in 2012 as a director, and was given various responsibilities including bringing in “high net worth” clients, the court heard.
He also opened the firm’s accounts with the private banking company Coutts.
Ms Hardy, in mitigation, said: “Mr Flood has the accident of love to blame for his link to the Beckham family.
“He happened to fall in love with a lady who happened to be the sister of someone who happened to be a famous pop star.
“The evidence in this case was that it was other defendants who used the link to perpetuate their representations to the victims.
“There is not a shred of evidence that Mr Flood ever capitalised on that link.
“The only time (the name was mentioned) was when he asked employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
“He did not want to promote that link.”
There were 24 victims which included a widower, a retired policeman and a multiple sclerosis sufferer who complained that a telephone sales agent became abusive when he refused to pay more money.
Flood, Fiorentino, Whitehead, King and Docker had denied conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation but were convicted by a jury in November.
Muldoon, and Todd had pleaded guilty to the same charge, which is dated between April 2012 and August 2014.
All are due to be sentenced today.