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Serious Fraud Office charges two company directors over £88m car lease scheme

19 January, 2024 | News Releases

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has today charged former company directors Reginald Larry-Cole and Scott Martin with fraud in relation to the nationwide car leasing scheme, Buy2Let Cars, which attracted hundreds of British savers to pay in around £88 million.

Operating for nine years, Buy2Let Cars Ltd offered investment in a fleet of popular cars from brands including Hyundai, Toyota and Vauxhall, to be bought and leased out to the public with the promise of high levels of returns. The scheme was widely marketed via a series of TV, radio and newspaper adverts, as well as at hotel conferences around the country. During the Covid pandemic, its cars were promoted as a safe way for key workers to get to work.

Many of those who paid into the scheme were first-time investors, making a seemingly affordable and secure investment that was backed up by a tangible asset – a car.

The defendants are accused of providing those who signed up with false information, encouraging people to pay in whilst knowing that investments were not in reality backed up by the cars they had been promised.

The SFO’s investigation – first announced in April 2021 – has heard from hundreds of investors and involved interviewing both the defendants and searching their homes. Mr Larry-Cole was later arrested and released on conditional bail in October 2021, after he was assessed to be at risk of leaving the jurisdiction.

Mr Larry-Cole was charged this morning at Staines Police Station and, along with Mr Martin, who has received a written charge, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 1 February 2024.

Nick Ephgrave QPM, Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), said:

“Hundreds of people suffered significant losses when this well-marketed, seemingly safe car hire scheme collapsed.

“Today’s charging is a significant step forward in seeking justice for all those affected.”

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