Pair helped to run ‘boiler room’ scam

A PAIR of fraudsters are today behind bars for their part in an elaborate ‘boiler room’ scam worth millions of pounds which conned investors into buying fictitious shares.

Ruhul Patel and David Vidgeon each made around �1million from a sophisticated con which embezzled the life savings of 1,250 individuals, who a judge said had “more chance of winning the lottery than seeing a return on their investment.”

Patel, 34, and Vidgeon, 30, were part of a countrywide swindle which saw bogus companies set up first in Suffolk, where two fake businesses were registered, and then across the UK.

Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday how serious fraud investigators first became aware of the high pressure, share-pushing operation in 2005.

Three years later, enough evidence had been gathered for Patel and Vidgeon to be arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud for their part in a scam between April 2003 and November 2006 and generated �7.5m.

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Vidgeon, of Longfield, Kent, was guilty of having day-to-day control of the companies and passing information to so-called ‘boiler rooms’ in Barcelona, where Patel operated unauthorised call centres, concerned in the selling of shares on behalf of companies, with two accomplices who remain uncaptured.

Vidgeon’s defence team told Judge John Holt that “he showed an appropriate if not honourable attitude, not simply for personal gain, by making attempts to offer refunds.”

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In defence of Patel, of Leicester, Peter Doyle said he was a man of hitherto good character who was held in high esteem “in family circles and further afield.”

Judge Holt sentenced both Patel and Vidgeon to seven years – three-and-a-half of which they must serve in jail before being released on licence.

Three other defendants, Baldur Sigurdsson, Roland Pibworth and Craig John Clark were acquitted.

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