In a prosecution brought by the FCA, Peter Currie, 59, was convicted by unanimous verdicts of 2 counts of fraud and 1 of money laundering, and Andrew Currie, 57, was convicted of 1 count of fraud and 1 of money laundering at Southwark Crown Court following a 5-week trial. Before its collapse into administration in February 2018, Collateral offered peer-to-peer style investments on a website, fraudulently claiming it was authorized and regulated by the FCA.
In December 2015, Peter Currie, a Collateral Director, swapped the details of a separate company he had agreed to sell – Regal Pawnbrokers Ltd – for the details of Collateral on the FCA register. Over the following 18 months, the company was advertised as authorized to persuade people to invest in loans on the Collateral platform.
In January 2018, the FCA notified Peter Currie that they had uncovered the register change and ordered Collateral to cease unauthorized business. After this, Collateral not only continued to receive investments, but Peter Currie and Andrew Currie also removed approximately £750,000 from the accounts of Collateral clients.
At around the same time, the Curries appointed an administrator without informing the FCA as required and transferred a further £88,000 from Collateral funds.
The integrity of the FCA Register is vital to consumer protection. The falsification of the official record by Peter Currie enabled Collateral to masquerade as an authorized firm to defraud consumers, and the jury has quite rightly concluded this conduct was criminal. The FCA has invested heavily in the Register to strengthen controls and make it easier for people to use, with more information available to consumers.
Both will be sentenced on 7 July 2023.