16TH July 2009


Press Release from Serious Fraud Office

To obtain in .pdf format goto:


Serious Fraud Office

News release

19 June 2009

Four sentenced in a $10 Million “Ponzi” fraud

Four men who operated high-yield investment schemes have been sentenced

today to a total of over ten years after admitting their participation in defrauding

investors worldwide of a total of US$10 million. A fifth man was sentenced in

September 2008. At the centre of the fraud, entailing one of the most complex

investigations undertaken by the SFO and Cheshire Police, was a project to

extract gold from spent ore, though not an ounce was produced, and no revenue


Maincrest Investments Ltd and London & General Finance Ltd

Two of the men, Frederick Taylor and Martin Shaughnessy, (both former Cheshire police

officers) ran Maincrest Investments Ltd (“MIL”) and London & General Finance Ltd (“LGF”)

between 1996 and 1998 from an office in Lymm, Cheshire. They solicited investments in

multiples of $100,000 (usually through intermediaries who were paid high levels of commission)

from investors in locations across the world including Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Netherlands,

Holland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Canada, Spain and Singapore as well as the United Kingdom, The

investigation was greatly assisted with co-operation from these various overseas jurisdictions

and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice in Texas and the

American Embassy in London.

The investors were typically high net worth individuals. Each believed they were buying into a

lucrative opportunity to be involved in select bank trading programmes where returns would

reach 80 to 100% within 12 months. No risk was the promise, because their investments were

secured by “bank guarantees” and supposedly with the protection of insurance, both, in reality,

had no substance. Investors, further comforted by the presence of an independent

stakeholder” in the form of an English solicitor named Christopher Darke, were invited to

transfer funds electronically to a US$ client account of Mr Darke. Almost $9 million was handed

over by nearly 30 investors. These funds were not invested in the way proposed and instead

earlier investors were paid with later investors’ monies, essentially a “Ponzi” scheme, and the

insurance policies that were in place proved worthless. Moreover, Mr Darke far from being

independent, was in fact a Director of one of Mr De Rome’s companies, Anglo American Metals

Inc, and was pivotal in the creation of loan agreements between MIL and LGF and AAM

unbeknown to the investors.

The existence of two former police officers and a solicitor was relied upon by investors and

clearly lent credibility to the scheme.

Anglo American Metals

Without the knowledge of the investors, the funds were transferred to an enterprise ostensibly

set up for the commercial extraction of gold from spent ore or power station waste ash at a plant

in Texas. The company, Anglo American Metals Inc (“AAM”) was set up by Paul De Rome with

its base in Victoria Texas. Some of the funds were used to buy equipment but the business did

not go into production and therefore did not generate any income. De Rome claimed academic

achievement though his BSc in Chemistry and his BA in Automotive Engineering Design were

internet purchases. Darke, together with another participant Ian Whittock (a financial

consultant) were engaged to help promote investments in the business. Both were old

acquaintances of Mr De Rome and became Directors of AAM.

De Rome had to obtain insurance to cover risk of failing to make payments due to MIL and LGF

but the arrangements he put in place were inadequate, unauthorised or simply false.

As De Rome’s metals business was not generating any revenue he needed to raise funds to

pay instalments to the earlier investors obtained through Taylor’s and Shaughnessy’s

companies, MIL and LGF. He set up a scheme to sell shares in other companies he controlled

and, together with Taylor and Shaughnessy, offered sell-back options at a guaranteed 100%

profit. Again, they claimed it was all insurance-backed. Existing and new investors were

attracted. Although some early payments were made, the guaranteed buy-back promises were

not honoured.

Debt for equity”

In 1999 Taylor and De Rome offered investors a settlement. Investors could agree to take

shares in Anglo American Metals in return for foregoing outstanding profits from their Maincrest

Investments and London & General portfolio. They were told that the shares would be listed

and could then be sold or alternatively there would be an option to sell the shares at a later date

to another of De Rome’s companies. The flaw however is that the underlying value in this

arrangement was a business that had failed to commence production and had therefore

precipitated the initial shortage of funds.

Another of De Rome’s schemes was to offer investors a settlement whereby the money owed to

them would be met by way of share lots in another of his companies, Ventura, on the basis that

they would then relinquish their claims against Maincrest Investments and London & General.

The plan was to then sell the Ventura shares to new investors and the resulting proceeds going

to the original investors, who were also encouraged to introduce new investors to Ventura,

though none did. A lien was attached to the share lots so that when new investors could not be

found, the existing investors received the shares.


Following a joint investigation by the SFO and the Cheshire Constabulary, on dates between

February and April 2006 the defendants Frederick Taylor, Martin Shaughnessy, Christopher

Darke, Ian Whittock, Paul de Rome and Malcolm Bradley were charged with one or more

offences of;

- Conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law

- Fraudulent trading contrary to the Companies Act

- False accounting contrary to the Theft Act

- Making false or misleading statements contrary to the Financial Services Act

De Rome was additionally charged with using a false instrument contrary to the Forgery and

Counterfeiting Act

For trial management purposes four of the defendants (Taylor, Darke, Shaughnessy and

Whittock) were tried first. This trial was due to commence at Liverpool Crown Court in

September 2008, however before the prosecution formally opened their case Taylor, Darke and

Whittock admitted to conspiracy to defraud. They were bailed to be sentenced after the second

trial. Shaughnessy, who admitted to fraudulent trading, was sentenced on 23rd September 2008

to 16 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and a seven-year disqualification from

holding a company position. He was ordered to pay £38,000 by confiscation.

The trial of De Rome and Bradley opened in February 2009. De Rome pleaded to conspiracy to

defraud and to making false and misleading statements. Bradley was acquitted by the jury.

Today [19 June] the sentences handed down by HHJ Swift were:

Paul De Rome 46 months in prison

Frederick Taylor 36 months in prison

Christopher Darke 28 months in prison

Ian Whittock 14 months in prison suspended for 2 years

In addition De Rome and Taylor were disqualified from being a Director of a company for 10


Confiscation proceedings are underway against De Rome, Darke, Taylor and Whittock and are

due to conclude in September 2009.

Serious Fraud Office, Elm House, 10-16 Elm Street, London, WC1X 0BJ

Press Office tel: 020 7239 7000/7004/7001/7045 or mobile: 0777 616 0985

Main switchboard tel: 020 7239 7272

press.office@sfo.gsi.gov.uk - or via – www.sfo.gov.uk




Any inquiries or information provided, will be held in strictest confidence.

Hello and let me introduce myself.

I am Zadkin Mangum.

I am a former employee and shareholder of Anglo American Metals

and The New Anaconda Company.

I was originally hired in 1997 to provide IT and automation services to the plant construction in Victoria, Texas, USA. I was named Technology Liason for the company and answered to the CEO, Paul A. DeRome. I also oversaw IT operations in London, England for Paul's management company, Foureyes PLC, and Foxley Management. I was privy to some of the board and business meetings, and I believed at the time that our firm was engaged in managing emerging companies and helping them to go public with helping to find investment/financing and business management. I also assisted in a public relations capacity with shareholders and VIP's designated by Mr. De Rome. I also assisted with some press releases and some task work associated with our due dilligence work for some public offerings.

I am seeking information on the following individuals who were Paul's business associates and/or companies:

Shimon Azoulay

Chris Darke

Malcolm Bradley

Ian Whittock

Fred Taylor

Chong Wook Ed Kim

I am also seeking information about the following companies:

Granleigh Holdings LTD

European Business Group (UK)

Foureyes Holdings (US) formerly listed NASDOTC

Foureyes PLC (London, UK)

Foxley Management (London, UK)

Anglo American Metals, Inc (Texas, US)

Other Holding Companies

Harnell Trading LTD

BB Group

Serrava Holdings Ltd

Maltpoint Ltd

Anglo Pacific Co Ltd

Mellend Holdings Ltd

Granleigh Holding Ltd

Dominelle Ltd

Coolrain Investments Ltd

F.F. Holdings Ltd

Sarista Limited (Malcolm Bradley)

Oasis Investment Ltd

Sarava Holdings Ltd

Maincrest Investments, Ltd