UK FCA sues binary options firm Bespoke Markets Group scammers over £1.2m fraud

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The UK FCA has filed a complaint against a group of individuals for alleged binary options investment fraud that took place between June 2016 and January 2020.

The UK’s financial watchdog is suing Cameron Vickers, Raheel Mirza and Opeyemi Solaja (aka Opeyemi Olaja), who allegedly ran a London-based firm called Bespoke Markets Group that defrauded UK investors of £1.2m .

The FCA also charged Reuben Akpojaro, who also worked at Bespoke Markets Group, with being charged with the same offenses relating to the scheme.

Raheel Mirza and a fifth individual, Taheer Sardar, have also been charged with perverting the course of justice relating to the CAF investigation: between July 31, 2022 and October 1, 2022, the two men allegedly created a false document to influence the case.

Unlicensed operation, money laundering and fraud

The money was used to fund their way of life, rather than the binary options investments that have been advertised, according to the regulator, who charged each of them with offenses under the Services Act 2000 and Financial Markets, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and an offense of criminal association contrary to common law.

Under section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), a person can only engage in regulated activity in the UK if they are authorized or exempted by the FCA. Anyone who violates section 19 of the FSMA commits a criminal offense for which the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment.

Money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 is a criminal offense punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment for up to 14 years.

Conspiracy to defraud is a common law offense punishable by a maximum penalty on conviction of 10 years in prison.

Binary options are banned for trading use since 2019

Binary options – a type of high-risk “all or nothing” investment, where investors attempt to predict whether an event will occur or not. If they win they’ll see a return, but if they’re wrong they’ll lose all their investment – were banned in the UK in 2019 after overwhelming evidence the product was offered as a form of gambling and gambling retail consumers constantly lost money.

FCA is executing a 3-year strategy to reduce and prevent behaviors that can cause serious harm. The FCA recently announced that it has imposed restrictions on twice as many companies in the investment market compared to last year.

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