Brothers convicted for taking £750,000 out of failed investment firm
In a prosecution brought by the FCA, Peter Currie (59) was convicted at Southwark Crown Court of two counts of fraud and one of money laundering, while his brother Andrew Currie (57) was convicted of one count of fraud and one of money laundering.
Before collapsing into administration in February 2018, their business, Collateral, offered peer-to-peer style investments via a website, while fraudulently claiming to be authorised and regulated by the FCA.
In December 2015, Peter Currie, who was a director of Collateral, swapped its details on the FCA register with those of Regal Pawnbrokers Ltd, a separate company he had agreed to sell. Over the following 18 months, the company was advertised as authorised so that it could persuade people to invest in loans on the Collateral platform.
In January 2018, the FCA notified Peter Currie that it had uncovered the register change and ordered that Collateral should cease undertaking business for which it was not authorised. Not only did Collateral continue to accept investments, but Peter and Andrew Currie also removed around £750,000 from Collateral client accounts.
At around the same time, without informing the FCA as required, the Curries appointed an administrator and transferred a further £88,000 from Collateral funds.
The FCA says it has invested heavily in the register to strengthen its controls, make it easier to use, and provide more information to consumers. The regulator stressed that the integrity of the register is vital to consumer protection.
The FCA noted that Peter Currie’s falsification of the official record enabled Collateral to defraud consumers by masquerading as an authorised firm and, as the jury quite rightly concluded, amounted to criminal conduct.