Serious Fraud Office
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Second fraudster jailed over fake investment scheme

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) can confirm the imprisonment of a convicted fraudster who conned investors out of £72.5 million with false claims of supplying services to the London Olympic Village.

At the City of London Magistrates’ Court on 27th May Michael Strubel was committed to prison for six years and seven months for failing to pay his confiscation order.

The SFO referred the matter to court after Strubel failed to adequately pay back the money he made from his crimes, following his conviction in 2016.

The SFO revealed in 2015 how Strubel, along with co-conspirators Jolan Saunders and Spencer Steinberg, sought investment in their company by exaggerating their electrical supply contracts in the hotel industry and lying about a non-existent contract to supply the Olympic Village for the London 2012 Olympics. They used this Ponzi-style scheme to buy themselves luxury cars, motorbikes and expensive property.

The SFO later uncovered that Strubel had also hidden his fraudulently obtained assets in loans and investments, including £255,500 that investigators found he had invested in wine. In 2019, the court ordered Strubel to repay £2,131,362.30, over £1.4 million of which 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 2420 days, approximately six years and seven months.

Emma Luxton, Head of Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance at the SFO, 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. This outcome sends a message to others who are found guilty of fraud that they will be held accountable for their crimes.”

Notes to editors:

  • The Serious Fraud Office fights complex financial crime to deliver justice for victims and protect the UK’s reputation as a safe place to do business. We investigate and prosecute the most serious or complex cases of fraud, bribery and corruption.
  • This outcome mirrors the activation of Jolan Saunders’ default sentence in August 2021. Having shown no willingness to fund the repayment of his own £5.26 million confiscation order, Saunders was jailed for almost nine years.
  • A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent scheme in which returns on investments are paid with capital derived from new investors, rather than from legitimate profits.
  • For more information on the Saunders Electrical Wholesale Ltd case, please see the SFO’s case page.
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