Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Director of Hove gem shop one of four fraudsters facing jail
Four gems dealers who made £1 million duping investors into buying diamonds at hugely inflated prices are facing years behind bars.
The fraudsters, including company director Adam Simmons, of No1 Gems, based in Hove, cold called scores of victims and promising them sky-high returns.
All the gems had been purchased out of a mainstream diamond catalogue before the gang added markups of up to 2,800 per cent.
One retired customer used up the last of his savings buying gems for £140,000 – but the stones were worth little more than £10,000.
Simmons, 27, his father Michael, 53, of Pevensey, and brother-in-law Adam Leach, 29, of Eastbourne, denied fraud but were convicted following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Adam Simmons had tried to claim workers at his No1 Gems firm had perpetrated the scam without his knowledge.
The mastermind, who used his share of the profits to pay for a luxury lifestyle in Marbella, grinned and shook his head as the verdicts were announced.
He set up No1 Gems in late 2011 and conned investors for the best part of a year.
By the time the company was raided by police in September last year, they had closed down their operation and were preparing to start a similar firmcalled Pinnacle, based in Eastbourne.
Co-conspirator Lee Miller, 32, pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading shortly before the case got under way.
The judge, Mr Recorder Michael Wood QC, said he would sentence all four on September 27.
He told them: “I can only impose a custodial sentence and it will be a significant one.”
The fraudsters also face having to pay back the cash they made and being disqualified from holding company directorships.
They lied about the closure of diamond mines and a potential £15m deal to sell jewels to HSBC to get customers to part with their cash. But Prosecutor David Durose said: “Those representations were blatant lies.”
Adam Simmons, of Booth Street, Old Swan, Liverpool, Michael Simmons, of Lion Hill, Stone Cross, Pevensey and Leach, of Hambleton Close, Eastbourne all denied conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and two counts of fraudulent trading.
Miller, of Sackville Road, Bexhill admitted a single count of fraudulent trading.
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Travel Watch Live
- Sentenced to life: Royal Marine from Brighton who shot wounded Afghan in cold blood
- Updated: "Biscuit tin" bomb hoaxer hunted in Brighton
- Sussex business winners line up to take top honours
- Severe flooding in Shoreham after River Adur bursts its banks
Comments are closed on this article.