A London-based fraudster who ran a Ponzi scheme that took almost £80m from investors has been jailed for almost nine years for failing to pay his multi-million pound confiscation order, Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled on 2 August.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had secured convictions against Jolan Saunders and his co-conspirators Michael Strubel and Spencer Steinberg in 2015, showing that the men deceived people into investing in Saunders Electrical Wholesale Ltd by lying about supply contracts.
The fraudsters overstated minor contracts with the Hilton, Marriott, Plaza and Holiday Inn hotel chains and flatly lied about a non-existent contract to supply the Olympic village for the London 2012 Olympics, 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."
Jolan Saunders was sentenced to a default prison term of 3,236 days after the SFO brought enforcement proceedings against him.
Saunders, Strubel and Steinberg took almost £80m from investors from their London base and spent it on yachts, expensive property and luxury cars.
Jolan Saunders and Michael Strubel were each jailed for seven years, while Spencer Steinberg was jailed for six years and nine months.
After an investigation by the SFO's Proceeds of Crime team uncovered that Saunders held millions of pounds in criminal assets, he was ordered to pay £5.2m to compensate his victims.
Despite the SFO showing clear evidence of Saunders' £4.5m in hidden assets from his fraud, Saunders has made no attempt to use this money to pay his confiscation order.
Instead, he has stalled and asserted, without evidence, that he hoped to pay the confiscation order through "major project works at blue chip hotels" - echoing the false claims he made to those whom he defrauded.
John Carroll, 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.
"We will not allow him to do so. He has rightly been jailed and we will continue to fight to deliver justice and return compensation to his victims."
Following his failure to take steps to pay his confiscation order, the Court activated Saunders' default prison sentence. Saunders has been imprisoned for 3,236 days, or just under nine years.
With accrued interest and the small amounts paid by Saunders, the amount he owes, as of 27 July 2021, is £5,756,311.46. The SFO said it will continue to take steps to recover his illicit gains.
Jolan Saunders had pleaded guilty in July 2015 to one count of conspiracy to defraud and one count of acting as a director of a company whilst disqualified.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison for the conspiracy to defraud charge and one year, to run concurrently, for acting as a director whilst disqualified.
Jolan Saunders was handed his confiscation order on Monday 9 September 2019.
Strubel was tried and found guilty by a jury in February 2015, and was sentenced to seven years.