One arrested after raids on Teesside as part of £150m fraud investigation – Teesside Live

Raids have been carried out at properties on Teesside as part of a £150m fraud investigation into student accommodation investments.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating the Alpha and Green Park group of companies for suspected fraud and money laundering.

It suspects them of fraudulently misleading investors into purchasing leaseholds for student accommodation and holiday park developments across the country.

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On Wednesday, following a six-month covert investigation into the businesses, the SFO carried out a series of co-ordinated raids, interviews and mandatory requests for evidence across the country.

Working with Cleveland Police, the SFO carried out formal searches on multiple properties, arresting and interviewing one suspect.

At the same time, the SFO also issued several Section 2 notices, which force companies to provide relevant information.

A spokesperson from Cleveland Police said: “Yesterday’s raid in the Cleveland area was in Stockton. Cleveland Police in collaboration with the SFO executed warrants, carried out searches and made an arrest yesterday.”

The Serious Fraud Office claims Alpha and Green Park branded companies sold investments into leasehold units between 2014 and 2019, promising investors eight to 10 per cent returns on their investment over the first 10 years.

More than 1,500 investors from around 50 different countries invested an estimated £150m into the leasehold schemes on the back of these guaranteed returns, but all stopped receiving these in 2018.

Meanwhile, the directors of the companies are thought to have made around £20m from their schemes.

Mick Gallagher, chief investigator at the Serious Fraud Office, said: “Thousands of ordinary people lose their pensions or life savings on risky schemes, while those at the top line their own pockets and enjoy a lavish lifestyle.

“The Serious Fraud Office is committed to delivering justice for victims of fraud and corruption. We invite anyone who believes they have a connection with our investigation to come forward.”

Investigators will contact UK-based investors and ask them to fill out a questionnaire by November 30.

The information provided will help the SFO to identify and pursue new information and to continue progressing the investigation as quickly as possible.

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