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Former foreign market traders sentenced to prison after defrauding investors

Monday 9th February 2015

Following prosecution by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), two former traders have been sentenced for defrauding investors. 
After conviction in early January, Alex Hope and his co-defendant, Raj Van Badlo, have been sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.  
Hope was sentenced to a total of 7 years’ imprisonment for defrauding investors of significant sums and operating a collective investment scheme without authorisation. 
Von Badlo, who had earlier pleaded guilty, was sentenced to a total of 2 years’ imprisonment for recklessly making false representations to investors and promoting a collective investment scheme without authorisation.
In total, over 100 investors entrusted Hope with over £5.5 million. The scheme was closed down by the FCA in April 2012.  As a result, approximately half of the amount taken from investors was identified and frozen. 
The FCA says that only 12% of the total money that investors gave Hope was ever traded and when he did trade, he lost almost all of the money in his trading accounts.    
Hope misled investors with falsified bank statements that he used to exaggerate his trading abilities.  
Raj Von Badlo (also known as Raj Shastri) promoted Hope’s scheme to a large group of investors. Over 75 investors gave £4.29 million to Hope as a result of Von Badlo’s actions. 
The FCA found that Hope used investors’ money to fund his ‘playboy’ lifestyle. It claims he spent over £1 million in a casino, over £200,000 on designer watches and shoes, £60,000 on foreign travel, and over £600,000 in bars and nightclubs in London, Miami and New York. 
In sentencing, the judge, HHJ Taylor, acknowledged that the impact on investors was significant and that that Hope had “shown no acceptance of [his] own dishonesty.”
Commenting on the case, Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “Alex Hope presented himself as a trader with a flair for trading on the foreign exchange markets when in reality he spent a good deal of his investors’ money on himself.
“With the assistance of Raj Von Badlo, Alex Hope enticed dozens to invest considerable sums in his fraudulent scheme. 
“This case shows that the FCA will vigorously protect consumers from those who break the law and do whatever it can to get their money back to them.”

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