Chigwell fraudster who took part in £800k boiler room scam ordered to pay back just £10

The gang persuaded vulnerable people to invest in rare earth elements like these.Pic: Surrey Police

The gang persuaded vulnerable people to invest in rare earth elements like these.Pic: Surrey Police - Credit: Archant

A Chigwell fraudster who was convicted of helping to run an £800,000 boiler room scam from a fake office in Canary Wharf has been ordered to pay back just £10.

Jonathan Docker, of Charlesworth Court, Chigwell, was jailed for 30 months in January of this year for his role in the complex scheme.

He was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

An elderly widow and a retired lecturer were among the victims scammed out of thousands of pounds by a criminal gang that persuaded them to invest thousands of pounds in materials known as rare earth elements, falsely promising big returns.

One 83-year-old woman lost more than £179,000 - her entire life savings - to the swindle, which operated under the name The Commodities Link.

The company appeared legitimate with offices in Canary Wharf, glossy brochures and slick marketing videos.

It boasted of celebrity links, and would send cars to collect high value victims and take them out for meals.

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In fact it was all a façade - the Canary Wharf offices were serviced offices and mailboxes, the claims in the glossy brochures and slick videos were fake.

Surrey Police started investigating the company in 2013, after one of the victims, a woman in her 80s from Woking, asked her bank manager help her transfer £100,000 to the fraudsters.

The ringleader of the scam, Darren Flood, aged 40, of High Elms Lane, Stevenage, was ordered to repay £190,000.

All in all, a gang of five fraudsters were ordered to repay a total of £370,634.80 which had been identified in assets.

But Docker, who is Flood's half brother, was only ordered to pay a nominal fee of £10.

Det Insp Matt Durkin, head of Surrey Police's Economic Crime Unit, said: "These people destroyed their victims' lives without a second thought.

"They took life savings, left investors destitute and took away the confidence and independence of their elderly victims.

"They were professional criminals, essentially grooming the people they targeted over time, and thoroughly deserve to have each and every penny of their criminal gains that we've been able to identify taken from them.

"The confiscation orders granted in this case now means that the victims will be compensated in part for their losses.

"This is testament to the hard work, tenacity and determination of financial investigator Steve Hayes in tracking down the assets this group had obtained through their criminal enterprise.

"Seeking a confiscation order following a conviction is a lengthy, complex process which can take many months but it reinforces our message that as well as serving any sentence handed down by the courts, criminals can also expect us to hit them where it hurts - in the pocket."