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Convicted boiler-room fraudster sentenced to four more years

13 May, 2015 | News Releases

Brian O’Brien, a convicted fraudster, was sent to prison today for an additional four years’ by Westminster Magistrates’ Court for failure to pay his confiscation order.

In April 2012, following his extradition from the USA, O’Brien was convicted after trial for his involvement in a £4 million fraud.  He was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

In April 2013 he was ordered to pay £364,938.53 in confiscation and a default sentence of four years’ was fixed.  The full amount of the confiscation order was to be used as compensation to the victims of his fraud. To date he has paid nothing towards the order.

In activating the default sentence District Judge Roscoe said there was “no evidence of any attempt to pay” either sums making up the tainted gifts or hidden assets aspects of the confiscation order indicating “culpable neglect” on the part of O’Brien.

At the heart of his fraud was a UK company, Secure Trade & Title Company Ltd (“STT”), which Brian O’Brien and his partner Lynne D’Albertson controlled from their home in Sussex.  STT conducted share-pushing operations based in Spain and Ireland and purported to offer independent protection for prospective shareholders, but in fact enabled the majority of funds placed for investment to be siphoned away for the benefit of the fraudsters.

Notes to editors:

  1. O’Brien, 61, is a US national.
  2. O’Brien was one of five co-conspirators and was convicted of conspiracy to defraud, attempting to obtain a money transfer by deception, transferring criminal property, contempt of court and hampering an investigation through the concealment / destruction / disposal of documents. He also contravened the general prohibition on carrying on a regulated activity.
  3. Further background information is available from the following:
    • Further information in respect of a landmark ruling at the Supreme Court on 2 April 2014, in connection with this case.
    • Sentencing press releases issued on 23 April 2012 and 14 April 2014 available here and here.
  4. Ben Douglas-Jones was instructed by the SFO in proceedings today.
  5. Shortly before a restraint order was served on O’Brien in 2009, he transferred assets out of the country and fled the UK. He failed to repatriate his assets and continued to use them in breach of the restraint order. After his subsequent return to the UK he was convicted of contempt of court for failing to comply with the restraint order, for which he served two concurrent 15-month sentences.
  6. Boiler rooms are essentially call centres, concerned with the selling of shares on behalf of companies. The selling of shares is an activity regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Boiler rooms are not authorised and operate illegally, often from abroad.

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