Police raided a property in Stamford as part of a major national operation targeting a multi-million investment scam.
The operation, which has seen 13 men arrested and 18 properties searched across the country, involved more than 120 police officers from 11 different forces.
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.
Early this morning (Thursday) City of London Police detectives, supported by officers from Thames Valley, Metropolitan Police, Essex, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, West Mercia, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Northants police forces apprehended the suspects on suspicion of defraud and money laundering.
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, Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Ashford (Surrey), Dagenham, Harrow, Brough (Humberside), Basildon, Hinckley and Wolverhampton.
Detective Inspector Teresa Russell, who is leading the ongoing investigation for the City of London Police, said: “Disrupting and apprehending organised crime gangs running investment frauds in both the UK and overseas continues to be a major priority for City of London Police. The size of today’s operation, involving support from 10 police forces and a total deployment of 120 officers, demonstrates that this a commitment shared by law enforcement across the country.
“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.