A Forex Dealer And $200 Million Value Of His Shoppers’ Cash Have Vanished
A forex dealer has vanished together with £130 million in traders’ money in an alleged fraud that could possibly be one of many largest in current British historical past.
Joe Lewis, 59, is being investigated by police over virtually $200 million which he claimed was in purchasers’ accounts however now now not exists. It’s rumoured that skilled footballers and golfers have misplaced cash in his funding scheme.
In an electronic mail despatched to purchasers a fortnight in the past, Mr Lewis admitted that his firm, JL Buying and selling, had stopped working in 2009 after struggling heavy losses on disastrous international change offers.
He confessed within the electronic mail that he had continued taking individuals’s cash for the subsequent 5 years in an try to show his fortunes round, however that every one these makes an attempt had failed.
In an electronic mail despatched a month earlier – in response to rising concern from traders making an attempt to get their cash out – he claimed that his firm was having “a stressful time” releasing $197 million (£126 million) from American brokers due to US purple tape.
Regardless of the fact, the truth for traders – a lot of them British – is that they’ve every misplaced a small fortune. Police have taken statements from numerous victims and begun an investigation into Mr Lewis.
A civil motion to freeze his accounts and seize any property has additionally been began. The businessman, who traded from a wise residential deal with in Istanbul with views over the Bosporus, is known to have left Turkey some weeks in the past. His grownup son stated he had no thought the place his father was. One report prompt he had briefly visited relations close to Hull and will now be within the Far East.
Within the electronic mail despatched on Dec three, Mr Lewis wrote: “Expensive investor, I’m writing to tell you that JL Buying and selling is ceasing to hold on enterprise. Opposite to the impression that I’ve hitherto given, the enterprise has misplaced virtually all of its property, and there seems no prospect of these property being recouped.
“JL Buying and selling ceased international change buying and selling in 2009 following substantial losses and since that point the enterprise has suffered additional losses, which I’ve tried to make good by way of investments in numerous business initiatives. Nevertheless, it’s now clear that the enterprise won’t be able to recuperate its losses and should stop buying and selling. Because of this, opposite to what was reported to you beforehand, you can not anticipate any funds sooner or later.
“I can only apologise unreservedly for any losses or unfulfilled expectations of profit. I have tried to recover the position for a considerable period of time, but it is now clear that I will be unable to do so. I sincerely regret that I have not been able to do better on your behalf.”
Mr Lewis, a father of two, began his firm a few decade in the past, using at its peak about 30 workers over two storeys of the residential block. He lived in a penthouse house along with his Turkish spouse.
Traders had been attracted by way of phrase of mouth with the promise of month-to-month returns on his forex trades of between one and three per cent. They had been additionally enticed by way of golf days in unique areas comparable to Thailand.
Since about 2011, solely traders with a minimal of $25,000 (£16,000) may be part of his funding “club”. One consumer had invested about £500,000 previously 12 months and is unlikely to get his a refund; one other is alleged to have put in £1.2 million.
Don Wall, 77, a retired businessman from Cambridgeshire, is owed about £100,000 by JL Buying and selling. “These are my life savings,” he stated, “This money was supposed to be savings for my children and grandchildren. I have never met the bloke and I don’t think I have ever spoken to him.”
His son-in-law and daughter, who reside overseas, additionally invested, as did a household buddy. Mr Wall signed up in 2009 with an authentic funding of £10,000. He was in a position to withdraw about £7,000 and inspired by the first rate charges of return – the Financial institution of England rate of interest had fallen to zero.5 per cent – he invested an additional £100,000. Issues started in September final yr.
“I was asking could I draw some money out,” recalled Mr Wall, “And they started giving me excuses why they couldn’t do it.” Then the primary of a sequence of electronic mail bombshells dropped.
On Sept 10 this yr, Mr Lewis despatched an electronic mail to purchasers that defined that he was “not able to give an exact date when we can send monies out” as a consequence of ongoing issues with American regulators. Attorneys, he stated, had been engaged on it and “they have everything in hand”.
On Nov 14, Mr Lewis despatched one other electronic mail. “We are going through a stressful time having our funds returned from our brokers; this has led to many doubts and concerns about the security of funds being held,” he wrote.
His enterprise was being wound up, however traders would all get their a refund, he stated. “So you can realise the extent of our business, our current values are: Due to clients, $197,000,000 in 893 accounts, worldwide. Due from Broker, $260,000,000 in 1 account, US,” he wrote, including: “As we are no longer trading, these amounts should not change.”
Then got here the e-mail of Dec three, wherein he admitted he had not traded forex for 5 years.
Two days later, Mr Lewis despatched out one other electronic mail – the final anybody has acquired – altering his story once more and wherein he blamed the earlier electronic mail on his authorized workforce. “You have been sent an update this week which was worded by my lawyers, but I wanted everyone to know, I am not running away from things,” he wrote, “While I remorse a number of the issues I’ve finished, I’ll do my greatest to treatment this example.
“Please note, I have covered up my mistakes from everyone including my staff, no one else knew what was happening.”
Traders should not certain what to imagine. Mr Wall has given an announcement to Cambridgeshire Police.
Mark Bavin, who launched Mr Wall and others to the scheme and who helped to organise JL Buying and selling’s golf days, has reported Mr Lewis to the authorities.
Mr Bavin, who additionally invested closely and has misplaced his cash, stated: “I am sure this is a massive fraud; almost certainly it’s a pyramid scheme. I have reported it to the fraud squad. We have all put money in and he has run off with all our money and that is as much as we know. I am owed significant sums.”
Neil Rodrigues, a British engineer working within the oil business, invested £26,000 in 2013, 4 years after Mr Lewis has admitted his firm stopped working. Mr Rodrigues stated: “Most of my colleagues with spare cash invested in JL Trading. We have never got any money back.”
One funding dealer, who didn’t want to be named, stated he had 25 purchasers concerned who had invested a complete of £three.2 million and never had a penny again. The dealer had begun authorized proceedings to have Mr Lewis’s accounts and property frozen worldwide. On Fb and on different web websites, alleged victims have been urged to hitch the category motion.
Mr Lewis was unavailable for remark final week. He didn’t reply emails and telephone calls, and at his Istanbul house a doorman stated he had not been seen for just a few weeks.
Mr Lewis’s son James stated: “He [Joe Lewis] didn’t reside extravagantly. I don’t know the place the cash’s gone. I’m blissful to share info with the authorized entities.
“Everything he had is ruined. There are no assets at all that I am aware of.”
Learn extra: http://www.businessinsider.com/currency-trader-vanishes-2014-12#ixzz3McbJU1pF