Not all superhero’s wear capes. One such tale revolves around John Gerard Metcalfe, from Essex whose actions led to a £2 million loss for several individuals. Metcalfe’s fraudulent investment scam ultimately brought him to bankruptcy and legal action in 2013. However, justice has a way of catching up, and in 2017, he was convicted of fraud offenses.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) wasted no time in seeking compensation for the victims. They obtained a compensation order, ensuring that Metcalfe would be required to pay back as much as he had in funds at the time. This order also left the door open for further compensation if Metcalfe ever came into additional funds in the future. It was a glimmer of hope for the victims and creditors who had been wronged by his fraudulent scheme.
Fast forward to 2023, and the Official Receiver, responsible for overseeing Metcalfe’s bankruptcy, made a startling discovery. Metcalfe had received a substantial £3.75 million payout from the Foskett Panel. This independent committee had been established in 2020 following a massive banking scandal involving a billion-pound fraud at the Reading branch of HBOS between 2003 and 2007.
Metcalfe’s discharge from bankruptcy in 2014 was a standard procedure, but the compensation awarded by the Foskett Panel was directly linked to the fraud that had taken place before his bankruptcy order. Therefore, this payout was considered an asset within his bankruptcy estate, meant to compensate his victims and creditors.
The Official Receiver was not the only one alerted to this unexpected turn of events. The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit and the CPS learned about the payout through Metcalfe’s solicitor. This discovery led to a collaborative effort between the CPS, the police, and the Official Receiver. The goal was to ensure that justice was served and that Metcalfe’s victims received the compensation they deserved.
Consequences For Investment Scams
A key decision was made: to treat the remaining victims as creditors in Metcalfe’s bankruptcy. This allowed the compensation awarded by the Foskett Panel to be funneled to the Official Receiver. As a result, over £2 million was returned to the victims who had fallen victim to his investment scam. Moreover, other creditors also received their due, and HMRC received approximately £750,000 in outstanding taxes.
Joe Sullivan, the Official Receiver at the Insolvency Service, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, emphasizing that after a decade, both victims and creditors were finally receiving their money back. He praised the dedication of the team and highlighted the importance of repaying the victims of Metcalfe’s deceitful scam.
Nick Bentley, Financial Investigation Manager at ERSOU’s Regional Organized Crime Unit, emphasized the unit’s commitment to ensuring that crime doesn’t pay. He stressed their determination to use legal mechanisms like the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) to secure compensation for victims of economic crime.
Pursuing the Criminals
Mark James-Dawson, Specialist Prosecutor of the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division, pointed out that this case illustrated the CPS’s commitment to pursuing criminals for their ill-gotten gains, even years after their convictions. The Voluntary Reparation scheme, in conjunction with the police and the Insolvency Service, had successfully recovered substantial funds from Metcalfe. Bringing hope and justice to victims who thought they would never see their money again.
In the end, John Gerard Metcalfe’s tale serves as a stark reminder that justice may be delayed, but it is not denied. Victims of financial fraud can find solace in knowing that law enforcement agencies are dedicated to pursuing those who seek to profit from deception and that, ultimately, justice will prevail.
This message serves as a warning against potential online scams, including website scams and investment scams. Please exercise caution and conduct thorough research before engaging in any online transactions or investments. Protect your personal and financial information from fraudulent activities, and consult with trusted sources for advice.
Insolvency and Law Peter Murray is an award-winning consultancy firm specialising in Insolvency, debt purchasing and business rescue.