Ponzi fraudster’s assets confiscated
31 October, 2019 | Case Updates
The SFO has today confiscated the realisable assets of Nicholas Levene, the former City trader who was found guilty of fraud in 2012. When Levene was handed a confiscation order in March 2013, due to bankruptcy proceedings, his available realisable assets totalled £1. Today, the SFO has confiscated approximately £118,000 of Levene’s assets.
In February 2019, the SFO obtained a restraint order on Levene’s self-invested personal pension, to which he would gain access on his 55th birthday. Today, at Southwark Crown Court, His Honour Judge Martin Beddoe ruled that Mr Levene’s available pension would be confiscated by the Serious Fraud Office and used to compensate victims.
Liz Baker, Head of Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance at the Serious Fraud Office commented:
“Our Proceeds of Crime team do not rest until every penny that can be recovered is recovered. This latest success is a reminder that long after sentencing, we pursue assets gained through unlawful means and ensure that fraudsters continue to pay for their crimes.”
Following a Serious Fraud Office investigation, Levene pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud, one count of false accounting and one count of obtaining money transfer by deception on 24 September 2012. He was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment and handed a confiscation order for over £32 million of criminal benefit.
Between 2005 and 2009, Levene dishonestly accepted monies from investors to fund a lavish lifestyle, spending investors’ money on gambling, buying property in the UK and Israel, or on overseas travel, holidays and lifestyle expenses.
Notes to Editors
- Nicholas Levene, born 23 April 1964, is a former city stockbroker from Hertfordshire.
- The Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal investigation into Nicholas Levene in October 2009. He initially entered not guilty pleas on 28 September 2011. A change of plea to guilty on all charges was entered on 24 September 2012, prior to trial commencing in October.
- He was charged with 12 counts of fraud, one count of false accounting and one count of obtaining money transfer by deception on 24 September 2012. He was sentenced to 13 years in jail.
- At the time of being handed a confiscation order, Mr Levene was declared bankrupt and his realisable assets were nominally calculated to be £1. The £1 confiscation order allowed the SFO to keep the order open in case assets became available at a future date.
- In 2019, after gaining access to his self-invested personal pension, Levene’s realisable assets totalled approximately £118,000. The value of self-invested personal pensions fluctuates greatly and so the final amount will be confirmed upon confiscation.
- The total value of the self-invested personal pension is over £230,000, but as part of Nicholas Levene’s divorce settlement, his ex-wife is entitled to 50% of Nicholas Levene’s pension.
- Mr Levene has been given 40 days to pay the confiscation amount.
- Under Section 22 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Serious Fraud Office applied for a reconsideration of the available amount. This was granted today, 31 October, at Southwark Crown Court. HHJ Martin Beddoe ruled that this would be used to compensate victims.
- More information on the case can be found here.
- By recovering the Proceeds of Crime and securing fines from companies, the SFO has delivered a net financial impact of +£450m from 2015 to 2019 (SFO Annual Report 2018/19).