‘Large-scale’ investigation into financial company in Ipswich
- Credit: JESSICA HILL
A large-scale investigation has been launched into an Ipswich-based financial company
The Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit (ERSOU), which tackles serious organised crime, says more than 100 reports of possible fraudulent activity have been received in relation to Universal Wealth Management and associated companies.
The investigation was initially undertaken by Suffolk Constabulary before being passed to ERSOU due to its scale.
Two people connected with Universal Wealth Management, which went into compulsory liquidation in May, have been arrested for fraud and have been released under investigation.
Universal Wealth Management had its offices in White House Road, Ipswich, and 100 staff have lost their jobs.
The firm, which is the subject of a BBC Inside Out East programme this evening, ran seminars around the country called Keep It In The Family.
These were allegedly focused on protecting people’s assets from inheritance tax and helping people avoid care home fees.
- 1 West Suffolk pig farmer reluctantly decides to sell herd after torrid year
- 2 Historic Suffolk hotel and restaurant set for closure
- 3 Red Arrows set to soar over Suffolk this weekend
- 4 Landlord fined £23k over 'dangerous' electrics and broken toilets at homes
- 5 Victorian water tower set to become restaurant
- 6 Lorry carrying mobile home stopped on A14 in Suffolk for being too wide
- 7 Ex-Town defender wants to win League One title with Owls
- 8 Pub with 'gorgeous views' named one of UK's best waterside drinking spots
- 9 Suffolk cinemas at risk as Cineworld 'set to file for bankruptcy'
- 10 Van driver punches man in the head in A12 road rage incident
A leaflet for one of the companies in the group, Universal Wealth Preservation, stated: “45,000 families every year are forced to sell their homes. Making a will is not enough! Find out how YOU can protect your home and savings from care fees, the taxman and many other threats.”
Several months after the business premises of Universal Wealth Management closed, Universal Asset Protection, a company under the same address, entered into compulsory liquidation. The company website has since been taken down.
Although the companies being investigated are registered in Ipswich, the director of the group states on his LinkedIn profile that he is based in Norwich, and the initial BBC investigation from 2011 describes Universal Group as a “Norfolk” company.
ERSOU are now in the process of examining the contents of hundreds of boxes of files that have been seized by police.
Detective Inspector Rob Turner, leading the investigation, said: “Investigations of this type are very complex and by their nature are likely to be long-running.
“I understand the concerns of those who have had dealings with this company and I’d like to reassure people that we are taking this matter seriously.
“We’re working closely with a number of partner agencies to ascertain the facts and we will endeavour to keep those affected updated as and when we have any further information.
“We’d urge anyone who has concerns, who has not yet made a report, to get in touch with Action Fraud who will then pass the information to ourselves.”
Anyone with information or who wishes to report a concern is asked to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the Action Fraud website.