FRAUDSTERS who conned hundreds of people – including many residents living in Essex - out of millions of pounds have been convicted.

In May 2017 Essex Police officers from the Serious Economic Crime Unit were alerted to a property-related ruse when an investor reported being a victim of fraud.

After conducting an investigation, officers found more than 800 people had invested in Essex and London Properties Ltd, which was set up in 2015.

The business claimed to buy properties along the Cross Rail route running from London to Essex, which would then be refurbished and re-sold at a profit.

The investors had each made payments ranging between £5,000 and £140,000 to the company, but only one property was ever actually purchased.

As a result of the elaborate scam the crooks benefited, entirely fraudulently, from a staggering £13 million, while their victims were left out of pocket.

Essex Police eventually charged seven men and convictions have now been secured after an 11-week trial at Southwark Crown Court concluded on Friday.

Mohammed Tanveer, 33, of Coventry Road, Ilford, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of fraud. 

Four others were found guilty, including Abdul Mukith, 42, of Great Godfreys, Writtle, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to launder.

Florian Pierini, 35, of Morley Road, Leytonstone, London and Mohammad Hussain, 31, of Church Close, Kidlington, Oxfordshire were found guilty of conspiracy to launder.

Jeffrey Razaq, 60, of Gunton Cliff, Lowestoft, Suffolk, on the other hand, was charged with acquiring criminal property. 

Two of the men who were initially charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to launder, however, were found not guilty.

They were Mitchell Mallin, 35, of Church Hill, Little Waltham and Anthony Whymark, 34, of Brooking House, Brentwood, Essex.

Detective Constable Greig Avery, from the Serious Economic Crime Unit, said: “These men went to exceptional lengths to add ‘credibility’ to their Ponzi scheme.

“They used every boiler-room tactic they could think of to pretend it was an established, legitimate company and to shamelessly defraud hundreds of investors out of millions of pounds.

“This was a sophisticated scam which financially impacted a large number of victims and I’m incredibly proud that we’ve been able to stop them in their tracks and ensure that they answer for their crimes.”

Sentencing of the five convicted men will take place on July 25.

A confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will be held in due course.

ELP was placed into liquidation as a result of a winding up petition in 2018.