Operation Cotton, one of the largest criminal prosecutions ever undertaken by the Financial Conduct Authority, has concluded with the convictions of all eight defendants.
Scott Crawley, Dale Walker, Daniel Forsyth, Brendan Daley, Aaron Petrou, Ross Peters, Adam Hawkins and Ricky Mitchie were all convicted for their parts in the operation of an unauthorised land-banking collective investment scheme which led to 110 investors losing over £4.3 million. Scott Crawley, Ross Peters, Aaron Petrou and Adam Hawkins were also convicted of conspiracy to defraud in relation to the same matters. Dale Walker, a solicitor, was convicted of laundering the proceeds of the scheme.
The convictions represent the culmination of an investigation stretching back over five years. The case was tried in two consecutive trials at Southwark Crown Court which lasted a total of 81 court days from January to June. Reporting restrictions in respect of Trial 1 have only now been lifted to allow for the publication of the full details of all matters.
The case had previously been at the centre of the row over Legal Aid funding between the Government and the Bar when it was dismissed for lack of defence representation. It was subsequently re-instated following a prosecution appeal to the Court of Appeal.
The Financial Conduct Authority was represented throughout by Sean Larkin QC, Paul Raudnitz and Polly Dyer of QEB Hollis Whiteman.
For further information, please see the FCA press release at:-