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Father and stepson from Chislehurst jailed over £2million fraud scam

PUBLISHED: 16:43 05 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:43 05 February 2016

Matthew Vale

Matthew Vale

Archant

Police investigations lasted four years

Michael ForteMichael Forte

A father and stepson duo have been jailed for a combined sentence of 14 years after they conned more than 100 victims, many of whom were elderly or vulnerable, out of more than £2million.

Michael Forte, 62 of Summer Hill, Chislehurst, and Matthew Vale, Lower Camden, Chislehurst, bought up two plots of land in Kent and Sussex, and then sold off the land in smaller parcels to unsuspecting investors, claiming the land was a potential investment opportunity.

However the sites had no real investment value, and victim’s, who were often cold called or responding to online adverts, were conned out out life savings.

One victim had been conned out of £190,000.

Michael Forte was setenced to eight years in prison and Matthew Vale to six years in prison yesterday (Thursday).

Detective Inspector Mark Josse, said: “These convictions should act as a reminder to the public of the possible dangers involved in such investment schemes and the lengths criminals will go to in order to make the scheme seem viable and entice victims to part with money.

“The victims, as well as facing the possibility of financial hardship through the loss of thousands of pounds, are also struggling with the knowledge they have been deceived out of their hard-earned savings.

“The sentences handed down by the court show how seriously the criminal justice system views this type of offence. The Met, through Operation Falcon, is committed to ensuring that all people considering committing similar offences are brought to justice.

“The public should be wary of companies offering investment opportunities with high rates of interest. If the deals appear too good to be true, they probably are.”

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