"The damage inflicted will reverberate with those victims"
David Shivmangal, aged 48, of Surrey, was jailed for three years and nine months for leading a boiler room scam. The diamond fraudster conned more than 100 elderly victims out of £2.5 million.
Southwark Crown Court heard that he and company director Glenn Ward ran Carter Stamford, a front for a boiler room scam between January 2014 and March 2016.
The men cold-called elderly victims and used high-pressure sales techniques to convince them to invest their life savings into diamonds.
The fraudsters had purchased the jewels cheaply before selling them for up to 10 times their original price.
They also offered safe storage of the diamonds. This allowed them to resell the same items to different victims.
Despite Shivmangal and his gang insisting they could make a profit, over 100 victims were left without hope of regaining their money.
Shivmangal was convicted of conspiracy to defraud, and entering into or becoming concerned in a money-laundering arrangement.
Ward was convicted of entering into or becoming concerned in a money-laundering arrangement.
Judge Alexander Milne QC said: “Carter Stamford was in fact, nothing but a shell company, it had no employees.”
The bogus company provided fake certificates with the diamonds in a bid to show they were genuine and worth the price.
Judge Milne went on: “Even a cursory reading of the certificates showed them to be wholly unreliable, as they purported to value diamonds which the company in fact had never seen.
“The so-called Escrow accounts behind which the company was hiding provided no protection to the clients.
“You knew from the outset that the diamonds were being bought by the firm and were being sold from six to 10 times what they were worth,
“It is striking you [Ward] kept your name off of the official records. The damage inflicted will reverberate with those victims for the rest of their lives.”
One 75-year-old victim who lives with his dementia-suffering wife said the men were “scum”.
He said: “I would describe the impact of losing the £35,000 as a major disaster.
“I invested this money to help to assist my family in our retirement and for financial commitments with our health.
“I now find myself and my family suffering greatly, physically, mentally and financially.”
“The men who contacted me on the phone and persuaded me to invest my savings that I have worked hard for. I would describe them as scum.”
A friend of Shivmangal told the court he was “proud to call him a friend” and that it was “not going to change”.
When he heard about the convictions, he was “genuinely shocked”.
Judge Milne said the fraudster played a “leading role” in the scam and “effectively did everything”.
He told Shivmangal: “It is exceptional to have so many friends come forward and speak with such affection and respect.
“I understand entirely why you were embarrassed about your conviction.”
Fraudster Shivmangal was jailed for three years and nine months.
Ward, aged 52, of Kent, was jailed for three years.
Roger Makanjuola, unit head of the CPS’s Specialist Fraud Division, said:
“This was a particularly unpleasant fraud, which resulted in vulnerable victims losing their life savings and impacted on their physical and mental health.
“The defendants had cynically targeted elderly and generally inexperienced investors.
“The investors were cold-called at home and pressured into investing money in schemes with the promise of high-value returns.
“The fraudsters presented themselves in a credible way and secured the trust of over 100 victims.
“The only people to benefit from the schemes were the fraudsters themselves and those who assisted them in laundering the proceeds of their crimes.”