Briton faces US jail sentence after admitting 'boiler room' fraud


A British man has admitted conning millions of pounds from hundreds of investors as part of an international "boiler room" scam.

Martin Rhys-Jones, 52, tricked investors in the UK and Canada into buying nearly worthless stocks as part of a fraudulent operation he ran from Barcelona. 

He faces up to 10 years in jail and a £173,000 (250,000 dollars) fine after pleading guilty to the offence at a US federal court in Buffalo.

According to court documents, the shares were sold by Rhys-Jones's illegal telemarketing set-up, known as a "boiler room", which claimed it was a "stock recommendation business". 

More than £2 million (2.9 million dollars) was taken from approximately 254 investors between 2006 and 2009.

The stolen funds were then funnelled through a bank account in New York and sent abroad. 

Rhys-Jones used high-pressure sales tactics to push valueless restricted stocks at highly inflated prices.

The victims were then directed to websites showing them a different, more valuable stock prices than they were being sold.

Newbridge International, Brecon Global, Strategic Energy Partners and Hammerson Equity Group were among the names the boiler room used. 

An investigation by the US Department of Homeland Security and the country's Internal Revenue Service led to Rhys-Jones being extradited to the US from his home in Spain.

One of his co-conspirators, Arnold Wrobel, was convicted in December 2015 and is awaiting sentencing. 

According to the US Attorney for Western District of New York, 12 defendants were arrested in connection with the operation, of which four have now been convicted.