FCA returns £2.5m to land banking fraud victims


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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has obtained High Court approval for a scheme to return £2.5 million to compensate victims of a series of unauthorised collective investment schemes.

Between 2005 and 2010, approximately 800 people invested approximately £32.8m in unauthorised collective investment schemes established and operated by Countrywide Land Holdings Limited, James Kenneth Maynard (trading as Regional Land and Countrywide Land Holdings) and Stephen Ronald Watkins (trading as Consolidated Land UK). These schemes involved the unlawful selling of plots of land.

The FCA has recovered £2.5 million from the liquidation of a related Panamanian company, Paradigm Consultancy SA, and this amount will now be distributed to the 573 qualifying investors identified by the FCA.

Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said:

‘Investment promising high returns means there is a high risk investors will lose their money. Sadly, this is what happened here. We have worked very hard to identify people eligible to receive compensation from these schemes and are pleased to have been able to recover and return some of their money.

‘We would like to thank the Metropolitan Police and Trading Standards for their assistance with this matter.’