‘Ponzi-style’ conman jailed for failing to repay victims of £72m fraud

A fraudster who conned people out of more than £70m in a “Ponzi-style scheme” claiming he was supplying services to the London 2012 Olympic village and large hotels has been given more than six years in jail for failing to hand back more than £1.4m of illicit profits.

City of London magistrates court committed Michael Strubel to prison for six years and seven months for failing to pay his confiscation order.

Strubel was originally jailed in 2015 for seven years for the scam in which he and others conned investors out of £72.5m and spent the money on yachts, luxury cars, motorbikes and property.

In 2019, Strubel was ordered to return more than £2.1m to compensate victims, but more than £1.4m remains outstanding.

Committing Strubel to prison, District Judge Louisa Ciecióra said Strubel’s continued failure to pay the order “looks an awful lot like at best culpable negligence but at worst wilful refusal”. Accounting for the payments already made toward the order, Strubel was committed to prison, where he will serve a total of 2,420 days, approximately six years and seven months.

Emma Luxton, head of proceeds of crime and international assistance at the Serious Fraud Office, said: “We won’t let fraudsters refuse to make amends for their crimes. The SFO has relentlessly pursued the recovery of criminal funds from Mr Strubel since his conviction in 2016. Today’s outcome sends a message to others who are found guilty of fraud that they will be held accountable for their crimes.”

Last year co-conspirator Jolan Saunders was jailed for almost nine years for failing to pay his £5.2m confiscation order. The SFO said he only paid small sums, despite prosecutors finding evidence that he had £4.5m in hidden assets.

At the time John Carroll, the chief operating officer of the SFO, said: “With callous disdain for those he has harmed, Jolan Saunders has resorted to falsehoods and obfuscation to avoid paying compensation to the victims of his pernicious fraud.”

A third defendant, Spencer Steinberg, was also found guilty by jury of conspiracy to defraud. Steinberg was handed a confiscation order in 2017, based on his (negligible) realisable assets at the time of the hearing.

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