BULLETIN: High Court Orders 3 Accused HYIP Swindlers To Pay $173 Million To U.K.’s Financial Services Authority; Case May Be Largest Ponzi Scheme In British History

A court in the United Kingdom has ordered three individuals accused of operating a colossal Ponzi scheme to pay £115m — roughly the U.S. equivalent of $173 million.

The alleged Business Consulting International fraud is believed to be the largest Ponzi swindle in British history.

As a criminal investigation proceeds, John Anderson, Kenneth Peacock and Kautilya Nandan Pruthi were ordered to pay the spectacular sum to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pruthi was ordered to pay £89,798,938.42 (US$135.1 million); Anderson £13,197,076.15 (US$19.8 million); and Peacock £11,645,052.99 (US$17.5 million).

FSA accused the defendants of unlawfully accepting deposits. Despite the favorable ruling, victims likely will not recover much, the agency warned.

“[T]his case again emphasises the importance of taking care to ensure that any firm or individual consumers deal with are authorised or approved by the FSA,” said Margaret Cole, director of enforcement and financial crime. “Authorisation offers consumers valuable protection and access to complaints and compensation arrangements should anything go wrong.”

Cole noted that the court decision validated the agency’s intervention last year to stop the scheme from mushrooming further.

“As the Judge commented in his ruling the FSA took quick and decisive action against Pruthi, Anderson and Peacock and was entirely justified in intervening, using the full force of the legislation, to bring the scheme to a speedy conclusion and prevent further consumers being cheated,” Cole said.

FSA noted that it would seek to make investors as whole as possible.

“The FSA will be seeking to enforce the judgment and return money that can be retrieved to investors who had dealings with Pruthi, Anderson and Peacock,” the agency said.

The London Police Department said last year that some of the victims in the mammoth fraud did not want to believe they had been fleeced. A criminal probe continues.

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