BULLETIN: U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office Charges John Neil Hirst In $16 Million Ponzi Fraud; Brits, French, Americans Allegedly Targeted By Gilher Inc. Of Panama And Seychelles

BULLETIN: John Neil Hirst has been charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the United Kingdom in a case that alleges he was at the helm of an international Ponzi scheme that targeted British, French and Americans through a company registered in Panama and Seychelles.

The company was known as Gilher Inc., the SFO said. Hirst operated from Mallorca, investigators said.

U.K. officials said Hirst, 59, appeared in Bradford Magistrates Court today to face charges of money-laundering and conspiracy to defraud. The scheme is believe to have gathered more than £10m (about $16.2 million U.S.), causing losses of about £6m (nearly $10 million U.S.).

Investigators said in November 2009 that Gilher hawked a “fund” that offered “a guaranteed return of 20% a year.”

It was the second major Ponzi case brought in Europe in recent weeks. German Cardona Soler was arrested in Spain last month in a case described as a $300 million Ponzi scheme that affected more than 100,000 investors globally.

The SFO investigation of Hirst “is still continuing in regards to the involvement of a number of additional individuals,” the SFO said today. Investigators did not name the other individuals or say how many others were under scrutiny.

“Gilher Inc was a Panama and Seychelles registered company, operated by Hirst, which invested funds on behalf of private clients who were mainly based in the UK and Spain,” SFO said. “The investigation started in November 2009 following complaints made to the SFO by investors and has been investigated with the assistance of West Yorkshire and Surrey Police and overseas law enforcement authorities.”

SFO did not identify the overseas authorities that assisted in the probe.

Cardona is a figure in the alleged EMG/Finanzas Forex Ponzi scheme, which has been tied to multiple fraud schemes in Florida and a narcotics probe in Arizona, according to U.S. court filings. Some of the U.S.-based legwork in the alleged caper was performed by members of the same Task Force that brought a $110 million Ponzi prosecution against AdSurfDaily President Andy Bowdoin of Quincy, Fla.

Cardona’s name also has surfaced in the George Theodule Ponzi scheme in Florida.

Both EMG/Finanzas and AdSurfDaily were promoted on Ponzi and criminals’ forums such as TalkGold and MoneyMakerGroup.

Hirst was ordered to remain at his residence and not to contact prosecution witnesses. He also was ordered to surrender his passport, SFO said.

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One Response to “BULLETIN: U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office Charges John Neil Hirst In $16 Million Ponzi Fraud; Brits, French, Americans Allegedly Targeted By Gilher Inc. Of Panama And Seychelles”

  1. Linky to the SFO case progress:
    http://www.sfo.gov.uk/our-work/our-cases/case-progress/gilher-inc.aspx

    Investors who are willing to assist in this investigation can do so via a special on-line link to the case-dedicated questionnaire.

      (Quote)

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