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Boiler-room fraudster sentenced to additional four years

2 April, 2014 | News Releases

A fraudster sentenced for running a Spanish based boiler room fraud, which took in over £1.3million from UK investors has been ordered today at Canterbury Magistrates’ court to serve an additional prison term for failure to pay a million pound confiscation order.

James Muir Baird (D.O.B 09/06/81) from Braintree, Essex was originally sentenced to five years and six months’ imprisonment in November 2011, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud in a prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Baird, the main beneficiary and organiser in this large-scale fraud, used high-pressure telesales techniques, typical of boiler-room frauds, to promote worthless share bonds in non-trading companies pretending they were, in this case, shares in Chinese commodities firms. The money put in by investors, many of them elderly, was instead paid directly to the individuals operating the fraud.

James Baird was ordered in August 2012 to pay a confiscation order of £1,365,168.00 of which £1,178,850.00 was to be paid in compensation to victims. He was ordered to pay the sum within 6 months or face further imprisonment in default of payment.

In activating the default sentence today the chair of the bench said: “Activation of the default term is seen as a last resort. In looking at the options we can see no other that is viable.”

This crime which took place between 2009 and 2010 allowed Baird to live a lavish lifestyle in both Spain and the United Kingdom, including thousands spent on holidays, cars, restaurants and online gambling.

The default sentence of 1,468 days imposed today will be served after the original sentence unless the confiscation order plus accrued interest is paid in full.

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information on this case please see the SFO sentencing news release from November 2011.
  2. To date James Baird has paid just over £414,000.00 towards his confiscation order. His time to pay expired on 15 August 2013 following an extension of the payment period. The total amount outstanding is now in excess of £999,000 which includes over £44,000 of interest which accrues at a daily rate of £209.18. He has failed to provide payment proposals in respect of realising the outstanding amount of the order which includes a finding of £774,537.00 of tainted gifts and £145,700.00 of hidden assets.
  3. On 2nd April 2014, the Serious Fraud Office asked for James Baird’s default sentence to be activated as a result of non-payment.
  4. Boiler-rooms are call centres, concerned in the selling of shares on behalf of companies – they are not authorised and operate illegally, often from abroad.
  5. During the course of the fraud Baird stole the identity of an FCA (formerly known as FSA) registered financial advisor as well as an FCA registered company and set up a bank account.
  6. Other SFO cases which include lengthy sentences include Saghir Afzal, Asil Nadir, Nicholas David Andrew Levene, Kevin Foster, Achilleas Kallakis, Virendra Rastogi and Abbas Gokal.