Richard Faithfull has been handed a five year and 10 months prison sentence for money laundering and has been disqualified from being a company director for a period of 10 years.
According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), investment adviser Faithfull laundered £2.5m ($3.46m, €2.93m) as part of a trans-national organised crime group for longer than 12 months, laundering the proceeds of at least seven professionally run overseas investment frauds.
The UK regulator said that Faithfull had previously pleaded guilty to on 16 April 2021 and “put forward a basis of plea that sought to minimise his role in the offending”.
The FCA said it “did not accept Faithfull’s basis of plea and the matter was listed for a Newton hearing – a trial of fact on a plea before a single judge – to determine the basis upon which he should be sentenced”.
Following a four-day hearing the judge, judge Tomlinson rejected the submissions made by Faithfull’s legal team and accepted the FCA’s statement of the case.
The FCA said that the money laundering operation was “sophisticated, utilising multiple accounts and front companies in numerous jurisdictions”.
“Faithfull was able to use knowledge gained when he worked in the regulated sector – as an investment adviser – to help the fraudsters continue to defraud victims by paying fictional ‘dividends’ from bank accounts controlled by him to make it look as though the underlying investments were generating returns,” it added. “He also involved innocent parties to help assist with his criminal enterprise.
To avoid detection, he relocated to Ukraine where he “lived a life of luxury whilst he continued his criminal activities, enlisting the assistance of local criminal groups abroad”, the FCA said.
Judge Tomlinson said that it was “serious offending” which was linked to the “human misery caused by boiler room fraud” and that “money coming in [to accounts controlled by Faithfull] was not being invested, it was simply being slaughtered”.
Pursue confiscation proceedings
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: ‘Mr Faithfull’s actions showed little compassion for those affected by the underlying criminality instead seeking only to make a profit for himself and others.
“The FCA remain committed to ensuring that those who choose to break the law are brought to justice.
“We remind investors to check the FCA’s register are part of their due diligence when looking to make investments.”
The UK regulator said it “will now pursue confiscation proceedings against him in order to try and seize his illegal gains”.