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Oxbridge fraudster gets another eight-years in jail for failing to pay back £2.7m court order

|News, Proceeds of crime , Fraud and economic crime

One of the five Oxbridge-educated fraudsters who lured wealthy individuals to invest in fake “green” projects is sentenced to an additional term of imprisonment for non-payment of his £2.7m Confiscation Order.

Today at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Rodney Whiston-Dew was ordered to serve a further eight years and ninth months imprisonment after failing to pay back £2.7m of his ill-gotten gains, from a fake ‘green’ investment scheme.

Rodney Whiston Dew, now aged 71, was originally convicted and sentenced in 2017 with four others (all of whom went to Oxbridge) of cheating the public revenue. Two years later, the CPS successfully applied to the court for Mr Whiston-Dew to pay back £3,035,192.97 of his ill-gotten gains; this was reduced to £2,732,788.96 by the court in October 2023. The total amount due is currently £3,463,224.11 with interest.

After paying back just over £70,409.56, the CPS took him to City of London Magistrates’ Court on 24 November 2023, for non-payment of the full amount and requested the District Judge to activate an additional prison sentence instead.

The fraudsters told investors their money would be spent on research and development into carbon credits, attracting more than £65 million in investment in the ‘green’ scheme. However, only £16 million of this was spent on planting trees.

Instead, the group stole £20 million of the investors’ money and laundered it via bank accounts and secret trusts, spending it on luxury properties in London, Australia, and Dubai as well as hidden offshore investments. They also failed to pay around £6.5million in tax. 

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor of the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division, said: “Rodney Whiston- Dew failed to pay back the £2.7 million that he owed, so the CPS have returned him to court and now he has had an additional default sentence of eight years and nine months imprisonment on top of his original sentence.

“We worked with HMRC to make sure he did not benefit from the proceeds of his crime, but he has only paid back a paltry amount of his available assets.

“Even when fraudsters are convicted and sentenced the CPS will continue to robustly pursue them for the money they owe, or they risk remaining in prison for many more years if they fail to pay their order in full.”

Whiston-Dew’s fellow fraudsters, Evdoros Demetriou and Michael Richards, were returned to prison in 2021 to serve an additional 9 and 6 years in prison for failing to pay back £4.6m and £9.9m respectively. In total, all five offenders were told to repay £20.6 million.

In the last five years, 2018 to 2023, over £480 million has been recovered from CPS obtained Confiscation Orders, ensuring that thousands of convicted criminals cannot profit from their offending. £105m of that amount has been returned to victims of crime, by way of compensation.

Notes to editors

  • Adrian Foster is the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division part of the CPS Serious Economic Organised and International Directorate (SEOCID)
  • Rodney Whiston-Dew was convicted in November 2017 of a conspiracy to cheat the public revenue. He was sentenced to a total of 10 years' imprisonment and disqualified from being a company director
  • Where a defendant refuses to pay their Confiscation Order in a timely way, CPS Proceeds of Crime Division can invite the court to impose an additional default sentence on them of up to 14 years' imprisonment. The full debt continues to be in force until it is paid, and interest is charged against it at the civil judgement debt rate, currently 8% 
  • Where they are found to have additional available assets in the future, the CPS may ask the court to revisit the order and make an additional Confiscation Order up to the value of their full criminal benefit

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