Chigwell ‘Boiler room’ fraudster jailed

The ringleader of a “boiler room” scam which fleeced more than �1million from victims across the UK has been jailed for four years.

Jonathan Whetstone, 31, of Martinsfield Close, Chigwell, led a team of young men who used cold-call tactics to persuade people to buy company shares which turned out to be overpriced or worthless.

Whetstone masterminded the scam from an office in Spain between 2007 and 2008 and admitted he alone made �750,000.

He was arrested by police in June when he flew into the UK on a forged Hungarian passport following a lengthy investigation by Surrey Police’s Economic Crime Unit.

Whetstone, formerly of Ilford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud at an earlier hearing and appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court on Thursday for sentencing.

Surrey Police will now seek a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize any available assets Whetstone may have.

The investigation began after an 83-year-old Surrey man came forward to report he had been a victim after being contacted by a man claiming to work for a firm called Waterman and Co in January 2007.

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The investigation led detectives to the “boiler room” being run by Whetstone, who had recruited a number of young men to work out of an office in Spain.

They included Martyn Jagger, of Aylesford, Kent and Daniel Healy of Enfield, who were jailed for three-and-a-half years and 18 months respectively in January 2010 after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud.

The boiler room operation came to an end shortly after July 2008.

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