Victoria Beckham’s ex-brother-in-law must pay back £190,000 he made in fraud where he used his links to her husband David to fleece vulnerable victims in cruel ‘boiler room’ scam
- Darren Flood, of Stevenage, Hertfordshire among seven conmen jailed for scam
- Would convince pensioners to invest in worthless metals, promising big returns
- The 40-year-old was in January jailed for 30 months at court for his involvement
- Flood and four of colleagues have been ordered to pay back their ill-gotten gains
Darren Flood, 40, was married to Victoria Beckham’s sister Louise Adams (pictured together) from 2009-2014. They have an eight-year-old daughter together. He was in January jailed for 30 months at Kingston Crown Court for his part in the scam
Victoria Beckham’s shamed ex-brother-in-law has been ordered to pay back £190,000 of the illegal profits he made from a cruel ‘boiler room’ scam – which used links to her husband David to convince pensioners to part with their cash.
Darren Flood, 40, was among seven conmen jailed for a total of more than 20 years in January after using his links to the former England football captain to gain the trust of pensioners before tricking them into making ‘worthless’ investments.
The group cold-called unsuspecting members of the public, mainly the elderly, and persuaded them to invest thousands of pounds in practically worthless materials, falsely promising big returns.
As a director of The Commodities Link (TCL), Flood – who was married to Victoria Beckham’s sister Louise Adams – would use his family links to cite ‘high net worth clients’ and potential targets including former Chelsea and England footballer Joe Cole’s dad.
The group persuaded at least 24 people – including an 83-year-old woman who lost her life savings – to invest in rare earth elements, metals and oxides which are used in products such as mobile phones and computers, which police said may as well have been flour, such was their value.
They defrauded at least 24 victims out of almost £810,000 over the course of two years.
Now Flood, of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, and four of his colleagues involved in the scam have been ordered to pay back their ill-gotten gains. It amounts to a total of £370,634.80 which had been identified in assets.
It follows a financial investigator from Surrey Police seeking confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act following their conviction. This was granted at a hearing at Kingston Crown Court earlier this month.
Darren Flood, 40, was among seven conmen jailed for a total of more than 20 years in January after using his links to the former England football captain (pictured, his former wife Louise Adams with her sister Victoria Beckham) to gain the trust of pensioners before tricking them into making ‘worthless’ investments
The company convinced pensioners to invest in rare earth elements, metals and oxides (pictured) with the promise of big returns. Police said they may as well have been flour, such was their value
Detective Inspector Matt Durkin, head of the 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.’
He added: ‘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.’
The conman (pictured outside court) was jailed for 30 months for his role in the scam. He has now been ordered to pay back £190,000 of the illegal profits he made from a cruel ‘boiler room’ scam
The Commodities Link – of which Flood was a director – was based in London’s Canary Wharf, and appeared legitimate with glossy brochures and slick marketing videos.
The conmen boasted of celebrity links, and would send cars to collect high value victims before wining and dining them.
But it was all a front – the Canary Wharf offices were in fact serviced offices and mailboxes, while the claims in the glossy brochures and slick videos were fake.
A barrister for Flood, who was jailed for 30 months at Kingston Crown Court in January this year, claimed that he had not personally sought to capitalise on the family link.
But more than two dozen victims – including a former police officer and nurse – were fleeced of up to £120,000 each.
Surrey Police were initially alerted to the fraud by a ‘hero’ bank manager in a NatWest branch in Woking who was concerned that an elderly customer was trying to send £100,000 to a company connected to TCL.
Flood, of Stevenage, Herts, owned almost a quarter of TCL, and was part of the business alongside his half-brother Jonathan Docker and their cousin Gennaro Fiorentino.
Docker and Flood were second and third in command behind front man Fiorentino.
Flood was married to Ms Adams, between 2009 and 2014, and they have a young daughter.
Ms Adams, who was reported to be ‘in bits’ when the marriage ended, wrote a letter to the court describing Flood as a ‘wonderful father.’
Main salesman Paul Muldoon (left) used Flood’s links to Beckham to win the trust of investors. Right, Stephen Todd was brought in by ringleader Gennaro Fiorentino to help run the firm
The Beckham family name was used to gain investors’ trust so they would handover their savings
Flood, who was of previous good character, was convicted of conspiracy to defraud investors into buying worthless ‘rare earth metals’.
But his lawyer said, in mitigation, that he was only responsible for £195,000 of the fraud while he was director between June 2012 until he resigned in April 2013.
The figure of £370,634.80 that Flood and four of his colleagues involved in the scam have been ordered to repay has been split between them. The five men were all jailed for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation for their part in the scam.
Fiorentino, 39, of Hackney, east London, was ordered to repay £130,614..80p.
Docker, 33 of Chigwell, east London, was ordered to pay a nominal fee of £10.
Qualified accountant Mark Whitehead, 60, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, who had acted as the company’s finance director, was ordered to repay £50,000.
TCL’s main salesman, Paul Muldoon, 35, of Basildon, Essex, was ordered to pay a nominal fee of £10 as he did not currently have any assets.
Stephen Todd, who was brought in by Fiorentino to help run the company, was also jailed in January.
Speaking after the gang’s sentencing earlier this year, Detective Inspector Matt Durkin – who led the investigation – said: ‘This is a criminal gang who, dressed in suits, used big, long complicated words and flashy brochures but, fundamentally, they are just criminals.’
Deputy circuit judge Michael Carroll, sentencing, said the investment scheme Flood was involved in was ‘fraudulent from the outset’.
He told the group: ‘This must have been known to you once you became intimately involved in the running of the company or played a part in it.’
But Joanna Hardy, defending Flood, said the much talked about Beckham link could be put down to an ‘accident of love’ and the 40-year-old had never personally used his connection to Ms Adams as part of the fraud.
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