Andrew Bird and Hannah Adams successfully prosecuted 4 individuals at Southwark Crown Court for a £35.8 million land banking fraud.
The case was funded by the new National Trading Standards Board, and the prosecutor was the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Following a 2 month trial the defendants, who had worked for entities called Countrywide Land and Regional Land, were sentenced on 8th March 2013 to terms of imprisonment of between 76 and 90 months and disqualified from being company directors. In passing sentence His Honour Judge Beddoe called upon Parliament to increase the maximum sentence (currently 10 years) available for conspiracy to defraud.
The case received national publicity, particularly in the Daily Mirror. Land banking scams involve the high-pressure selling to the public of small plots of land. The essence of the fraud lies in representing that the plots are good investments when the fraudsters have already applied mark-ups of over 1000%. Countrywide Land had for example bought plots of land for around £300 each, but was marketing them as good investments at £10,000. This is the second land-banking fraud that Andrew Bird has successfully prosecuted. In a separate case at Isleworth Crown Court in 2012 the principals behind a £3 million fraud received sentences of 5 years and 6 years imprisonment.
To read the Newspaper article, please click here.