Lincolnshire Police are one of 11 forces that have been involved in a nationwide police operation investigating a multi-million pound investment scam.
Approximately 120 police officers have been deployed across England to target the suspected money launderers, and has seen 13 men arrested at 18 addresses.
Early yesterday morning City of London Police detectives were supported by officers from ten local forces including those from Lincolnshire to apprehend the suspects on suspicion of defraud and money laundering.
The gang behind the alleged fraud is believed to have been running four boiler rooms, cold-calling people at home and selling them investments in gold leasing and airtime minutes in mobile phone operators through fraudulent companies Demmore Ltd, Simply Airtime, S+E Future and Vodacell.
More than 100 people have already fallen victim to the scam with reported losses of £2.8 million.
Following information from BBC Radio 4 programme ‘You and Yours’, detectives traced the suspects through bank accounts believed to have been set-up by the gang to receive and launder the stolen funds, most of which has either been withdrawn in cash or transferred overseas.
The 13 men arrested were detained and taken to local police stations for questioning.
At the same time investigating officers seized business documents and mobile phones at addresses in Stamford, Hinckley, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Peterborough, Ashford, Dagenham, Harrow, Brough, Basildon, and Wolverhampton.
Detective Inspector Teresa Russell, who is leading the ongoing investigation for the City of London Police, said:
“Victims were cold called by this gang to invest their money in gold leasing and airtime, on the promise of quick and large returns. The stark contrast is that these investment schemes appear to be scams and we suspect those arrested as part of today’s police operation laundered the missing millions for their own or others benefit.”
Anyone who believes they have fallen victim to this suspected fraud or invested in products offered by Demmore Ltd, Simply Airtime, S+E Future and Vodacell should report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Anyone who receives a cold-call from someone trying to sell them something over the phone is strongly advised to hang-up.