Two ex-company directors have been charged with fraud over car leasing scheme Buy2Let Cars that saw hundreds of British savers pay in around £88m.
Reginald Larry-Cole was charged this morning at Staines police station by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on February 1 along with Scott Martin, who has been given a written charge.
The SFO said Buy2Let Cars Ltd ran for nine years, offering investments in a fleet of cars from brands including Hyundai, Toyota and Vauxhall, to be bought and leased out to the public with the promise of high levels of returns.
The scheme was widely marketed via a series of TV, radio and newspaper adverts, as well as at hotel conferences around the country, as seen below.
During the pandemic, Buy2Let Cars’ vehicles were promoted as a safe way for key workers to get to work, said the SFO.
The duo are accused of providing those who signed up – many of them first-time investors – with false information, encouraging people to pay in while knowing that investments were not in reality backed up by the cars they had been promised.
The SFO’s investigation was first announced in April 2021 and has heard from hundreds of investors.
It involved interviewing the defendants and searching their homes. Larry-Cole was later arrested and released on conditional bail in October 2021.
SFO director Nick Ephgrave said: ‘Hundreds of people suffered significant losses when this well-marketed, seemingly safe car hire scheme collapsed.
‘Today’s charging is a significant step forward in seeking justice for all those affected.’
Larry-Cole, 53, and Martin, 45, are both charged with three counts of fraud by false representation, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, sections 1(2) and 2(1).
It follows an investigation by the SFO into suspected fraud in relation to the activities of Raedex Consortium, which includes Buy2Let Cars, PayGo Cars, Raedex trading as Wheels4Sure and Rent2Own Cars from 2012 to 2021.
In March 2021, Raedex Consortium Ltd entered administration.
The Financial Conduct Authority previously imposed a number of restrictions on Raedex Consortium, requiring it to cease conducting regulated activities because of concerns about its finances.
According to Companies House, the correspondence address for Buy2Let Cars was 25 Farringdon Street in London.