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Investigation into Sussex land scam
Two brothers conned people out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by selling them near-worthless land they claimed could be developed.
Llewellyn Hannah-Shelton and brother Samuel Hannah-Shelton sold parcels of property at up to 850% mark-ups, having “misrepresented” the likely returns to investors.
Llewellyn Hannah-Shelton was a director of Britannia Land Management Ltd, Regency Land Group Ltd and Regency Land Sales Ltd while Samuel Hannah-Shelton was a director of Britannia.
The companies bought plots of land in Chailey between February 2010 and March 2011 before the brothers tricked people into buying over-priced sections, a scam known as land banking.
An investigation by the Official Receiver’s Public Interest Unit, part of the Insolvency Service, revealed the companies operated from a ‘virtual office’ in Spain, from where employees made unsolicited phone calls to members of the public in Britain.
Potential investors were provided with sales documents which gave a misleading impression of the companies’ prior history and expertise in land investments, and of the potential profit to be made from the land.
This resulted in almost £400,000 in investment but it did not yield any profit for the investors.
When the companies were wound-up by the High Court they owed creditors and shareholders at least £430,000.
Llewellyn Hannah-Shelton, 33, did not dispute he used the companies to trick people into handing over money, including telling their victims they could get planning permission to develop the land.
The brothers agreed not to promote, manage or be a director of a limited company for a total of 15 years between them.
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