A HUSBAND and wife from Westfield conned hundreds of investors into buying more than £4 million of over-priced shares in a ‘boiler room’ scam, a court heard this week.
Brian O’Brien, 57, and Lynne D’Albertson, 58, tricked more than 300 people into purchasing vastly inflated stock in Golden Dynasty Resources and Claim Tracker, it is said.
The couple, who live in New Cut, Westfield, sold shares in the two companies for up to four times the value agreed with the firms and siphoned off the profits into their own accounts, prosecutors allege.
Jurors at Southwark Crown Court heard that of the £4 million forked out by victims only around £1 million reached Golden Dynasty and Claim Tracker.
D’Albertson, who trained as a nurse, is even said to have conned members of her own family into buying the shares.
She and O’Brien allegedly oversaw the sale of the shares through three companies, Black and White Investments SL and Cardinal Securities SL, both based in Spain, and DML Corporation Ireland, based in Limerick, Ireland.
The profits from the scam are then said to have been transferred back to their UK-based company Securetrade and Title Ltd, which had a trading address in Little Common Road, Bexhill.
A portion of the monies invested was passed on to Canadian mining company Golden Dynasty and UK-based technology company Claim Tracker.
It is alleged the remainder of the cash was then either paid out to co-conspirators and sales staff working for O’Brien and D’Albertson or into either their personal bank accounts or the offshore account of a company registered to D’Albertson - West Addison Property Management.
Cardinal Securities was heard to have been set up by James Pye, while DML was set up by two alleged co-conspirators who cannot be named for legal reasons, though O’Brien and D’Albertson are ultimately said to have been in charge.
Of the potential investors contacted by these fraudulent businesses about 300 people actually invested in Claim Tracker and Golden Dynasty through them, she added.
Amanda Pinto, prosecuting, said the alleged con began in 2005 after O’Brien, described as the ‘brains behind the scam’, secured deals with Golden Dynasty and Credit Tracker to sell shares on their behalf.
Jurors were told that at the time the alleged fraud began Golden Dynasty shares were valued at just 6p each but O’Brien and D’Albertson sold them for as much as 25p.
DML, the court heard, operated both as a ‘boiler room’ but also attempted to con previous investors duped through Black & White and Cardinal. Salesmen at DML offered a ‘recovery room’ through which buyers could offload the shares in Golden Dynasty and Capital Tracker for a fee.
Ms Pinto said: “In truth DML did nothing with these bad shares, they simply used them as a device for getting more money out of the investors who had been conned the first time.”
It was also discovered the couple had transferred money from the West Addison Property Management account in Guernsey to banks in Cyprus and O’Brien’s native US.
O’Brien and D’Albertson deny conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent trading contrary to Section 458 of the Companies Act 1985, contravening the general prohibition on carrying on regulated activity contrary to section 2 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, transferring criminal property between August 2, 2005, and August 24, 2006, and hampering an investigation. O’Brien also denies one count of attempting to obtain a money transfer by deception.
The couple have already pleaded guilty to two further counts of contravening general prohibition on carrying on regulated activity contrary to section 2 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the jury heard.
Pye pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and one count of contravening general prohibition on carrying on regulated activity contrary to section 2 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 last year.
The trial continues.