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Indian-origin man sentenced in scam

An Indian-origin former accountant has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment for duping 100 million pounds from people in an international scam.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2008 09:06 IST

An Indian-origin former accountant has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment for duping 100 million pounds from people in an international scam.

Shinder Singh Gangar, 46, from Leicestershire, promised clients a return of up to 160 per cent a year on money invested with him. But there was no investment scheme and the money was not invested as promised, instead being put into off-shore bank accounts.

The transactions were conducted through a accountancy company Dobb White & Co, which had offices in Leicester and Nottingham.

Gangar was joined in the scam by the company's partner, Alan White, 49, from Nottingham.

The pair used the cash to buy properties, provide loans to friends and invest in other speculative schemes.

The investigation into the scam was conducted over several years by the Serious Frauds Office along with the Economic Crime Unit of the Leicestershire Police.

Both were jailed for seven-and-a-half years at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday after they were convicted of conspiracy to defraud and attempting to bribe a US official.

The scam was kept going by using money from new investors to make interest payments to existing clients. It was falsely claimed that the invested funds were insured.

Sentencing them, Justice Langstaff said: "This fraud was deeply corrosive. The defendants obtained money from victims, that many could ill afford to part with, for instance money set aside for retirement funds."

He added that the "fraud was sophisticated as the defendants effectively ran a bank in the Caribbean as part of their fraud."

Gangar was described by the judge as having "great ability and personal charm", and that "he was aware from the mid-1990s that such investment schemes did not exist."

Gangar, according to the judge, was a "plausible, effective salesman and advocate", and that "it was a disappointment how he had chosen to use his talents."

The judge added that "whereas Gangar was the salesman, White was the accountant and back room boy."

In a bid to entice people to invest, Gangar and White falsely claimed that world famous stars, including composer Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber and television personality David Frost, had signed up to their scheme.

Gangar and White also tried to bribe a US official when they forged links with an American conman, Terry Dowdell. The two put much of the clients money in speculative schemes controlled by Dowdell, particularly one called Vavasseur.

When US authorities investigated Vavasseur, they froze the fund, which meant that neither Dowdell nor Gangar and White could make payments to their clients. The three conmen then conspired to bribe a US official to unfreeze the cash.

Gangar and White put 250,000 pounds into an American account for the bribery operation, but it was not paid.

Dowdell was eventually jailed for 15 years in 2002 and was brought to the UK to give evidence against Gangar and White, who denied the charges.

The Serious Fraud Office is likely to seek confiscation of assets of White and Gangar.