Land banking fraudster sentenced

Sarah Davidson

June 19, 2015

Over 110 investors in the scheme lost at least £4.3m leading to Hawkins being convicted on 29 May 2015 following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Hawkins primarily worked as a salesman and was involved in the management of the three land banking companies Plott UK, European Property Investments (UK) Ltd and Stirling Alexander Limited.

This sentence follows sentences of up to eight years imprisonment handed down in earlier hearings against seven other defendants: Scott Crawley, Dale Walker, Daniel Forsyth, Brendan Daley, Aaron Petrou, Ross Peters, and Ricky Mitchie.

All of the convictions are part of Operation Cotton, one of the Financial Conduct Authority’s largest investigations and prosecutions.

Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “This investigation and prosecution by the FCA has led to immediate custodial sentences totalling for eight people totalling 32 years and nine months, showing how seriously the courts view this kind of offending.

“This prosecution demonstrates that we will not shy away from taking firm and decisive action to protect consumers and the integrity of the financial services industry, as well as holding individuals and companies to account for illegal investment activities.”

Confiscation proceedings are being pursued against all defendants. In sentencing Mr Hawkins, His Honour Judge Leonard QC again emphasised that this was a “very substantial and deliberate fraud on the public” and one which was “subtle and cruel” in its operation.

Judge Leonard QC said: “Two days before you [Hawkins] started at Plott you were arrested for a very similar matter. You came to Plott with your eyes wide open. Rather than running a mile from the activities of Plott, you endorsed their fraudulent activities and worked hard to achieve their fraudulent aims.”

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