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Boiler Room fraudster sentenced

14 April, 2014 | News Releases

John Laurence Curtin was today sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court for his part in a £4 million boiler room fraud.

Curtin, an Irish National, (DoB 09/02/1976) was one of five conspirators convicted for their roles in this conspiracy to defraud investors in the UK. He was also sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment for breaching the general prohibition in the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000, for dealing, arranging and advising on investments without authorisation. He is the final defendant in the Secure Trade and Title Ltd prosecution brought by the SFO and was arrested in France in October 2013 under a European Arrest Warrant. He consented to return to the UK shortly afterwards and pleaded guilty in March this year. The offences took place between 2005 and 2007.

Curtin was a salesman and manager involved in the fraudulent sale of company shares to British residents at vastly inflated prices. He did this by acting through unregulated businesses. He worked in Barcelona and then Limerick, selling worthless shares over the phone and he also trained new salesmen to call potential investors. Together with a man called Damien Smith, he ran the Limerick outfit. Over the course of just a few months, the conspirators’ global business (Secure Trade and Title Ltd) accumulated over £4 million from investors. Investors had no idea that most of the money for the shares which they transferred into a UK Lloyd’s bank account, was not going to the company in which they had been encouraged to invest. Instead it was siphoned off by the boiler rooms.

Notes for editors:

  1. Curtin’s case was sent to Southwark Crown Court on 1 November 2013. The sentence handed down today was reduced from 4.5 years to 3 years’ imprisonment following a 30% discount for pleading at the earliest opportunity.
  2. The SFO obtained prison sentences against a total of four other co-conspirators. Brian James O’Brien, Lynne Jane D’Albertson and James Pye were sentenced in April 2012. Damien Rodney Smith was sentenced in May 2012. Further background information on their sentence, confiscation and compensation updates relating to this case, and details of Curtin’s extradition are available here.
  3. The two sentences handed down today are to run concurrently.
  4. The fraudsters did nothing with the ‘bad’ shares in this case- the share certificates stayed in the boot of Damien Smith’s car or were kept by fellow conspirator Brian O’Brien until well after the SFO had become involved; it was simply a device to get more money out of investors by defrauding them twice.
  5. A boiler room fraud involves a business, often from overseas, cold calling and persistently pushing the urgent sale of over-valued or even worthless shares in a company.
  6. This investigation was conducted with the assistance of Sussex Police.

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