Operating with fake addresses, fake phone numbers and no registered company name, fraudsters are good at covering their tracks. Just the other week, yours truly went to the registered ‘office’ of one such firm only to find there was nothing there – oy vey.
That’s why it is extremely gratifying to see the City of London police announcing that they have jailed the owner of TB Options. Lee Denton, a 33-year old from Oxted, a town just outside of London, was sentenced to four and a half years behind bars last friday.
Denton, who resembles an Essex version of Mr Potato Head, was convicted of money laundering. Police reports suggest he defrauded his victims out of £475,000 ($614,800).
TB Options – a phoney broker with a real address
Unlike many of his fellow scammers, Denton actually went some way to give his company an aura of legitimacy. In late 2015, he registered TB Options at Companies House, later giving the company an address on Cheapside, a busy street in the heart of London’s financial district.
This whole address business may have actually meant Denton was, to quote a Danish prince, “hoist by his own petard.” This is because the first address he registered the business under was – get ready for this – his home address. No Holmesian deduction needed on the part of the City of London Police to figure out who the culprit might be then.
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Once he’d set up his phony business, Denton then proceeded to cold call his victims in order to get them started in the world of binary options. Said victims were told that they had to deposit a minimum of £5000 ($6471.61) to start trading.
After they had deposited that cash, no trading ever took place. Instead, Denton would withdraw the money from various cash machines and bank branches. The police estimate that he withdrew £192,000 in cash with thousands being spent in bars, restaurants, high end hotels and on designer goods.
The police close in
When victims of the scam asked to get their cash back, they were told that they had to stay with the firm for 12 months before they could withdraw funds. Needless to say, none of them were told this before they deposited their money in the first place.
As complaints against the site began to mount, TB Options ceased all contact with its victims. Eventually the scam website was taken down and the company’s phone line was disconnected.
Of course, it didn’t take long for the boys down at Scotland Yard to get on Denton’s case. The police’s Fraud Squad, having found his home address on Companies House, used all the means at their disposal to find where he lived on Google Maps. Soon afterwards they were crashing through his front door and cuffing him.
Kudos to the police for getting this reprobate off of London’s streets. We can only hope that more such arrests take place in the near future.