The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced on Tuesday that a man by the name of Manraj Virdee has been handed a two year suspended sentence for defrauding various retail investors out of £600,000 ($780,210). Virdee will also have to perform 300 hours of unpaid work to atone for his crimes.
The sentencing, which was done at Southwark Crown Court in London, comes after Virdee plead guilty to four charges relating to “misleading consumers, fraud and the illegal operation of an unauthorised investment scheme worth.”
“The FCA’s prompt action nipped Mr Virdee’s fraud in the bud and stopped it becoming inevitably bigger, causing greater loss to a wider group of victims,” said Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA. “The FCA reminds investors to beware of anyone who is not authorised to carry out the activities they are offering.”
Virdee ran his scam between October of 2015 to November of 2017. According to a statement released by the FCA, he encouraged people, many of whom were friends and family members, to deposit cash with him so that he could act as their investor.
Pretending to be a professional currency trader, and running a company called ‘Dynamic UK Trades,’ Virdee was even able to convince someone to part with £192,500 ($250,318) so that he could ‘invest’ it in a series of spread betting trades.
Promising his victims 100 percent returns, Virdee was able to raise over £600,000 in cash.
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To be fair to him, Virdee did actually attempt to trade £457,119 ($594,417) of that sum. The reason I say ‘to be fair to him,’ is that most scammers tend to cut and run with the cash, so Kudos to Virdee for at least giving it a go.
As he wasn’t a very good trader, he lost all of that money. In court, Virdee agreed with the prosecution’s description of his trading as being “spectacularly unsuccessful.”
The roughly £150,000 that remained with the fraudster nabbed were all used, according to the FCA, “to fund [his] lifestyle.”
The British regulator said that Virdee’s remaining assets are to be confiscated and used to compensate people that lost money to his scheme.
Given that he has been handed a suspended sentence, Virdee is unlikely, unless he starts trading again, to ever see the inside of a prison cell.
And, if you think about it, his 300 hours of unpaid work is supposed to atone for £600,000 of stolen funds.
Does that mean Virdee’s work is valued at £2000 per hour by the British government? If so, this author suggests ‘paying him’ minimum wage, £7.83 an hour, and giving him 76,628 hours of “unpaid work in the community.”