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Fraudster forced to pay back £1 million to victims

|News, Proceeds of crime , Fraud and economic crime

More than 200 people who were conned into buying useless investments have received payouts from the money recovered from the fraudster.

The 222 victims of Paul Seakens, 62, have been given a share of the £1,037,948 that prosecutors from the Crown Prosecution Service helped recover after he was sentenced for fraud in 2021.

The court service began distributing the money in September this year. By then around 28 of the victims had sadly died, so the next of kin received their share. The largest amount paid to a victim was £38,482, with the average compensation payout being £4,675. 

Those duped by Seakens came from every part of the United Kingdom.

The CPS took Seakens back to court so a Confiscation Order could be issued against him under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This forces criminals to handover money and assets they acquired during their crime or face the possibility of spending more years in prison for non-payment. 

Portia Ragnauth, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said:

“Paul Seakens did untold damage to the lives of his victims, some of whom were old and frail. We have made sure that he has paid his £1m order in full following the sale of his pensions, a Rolex watch, along with money in a bank account from one of his fraudulent businesses, which has now been distributed to his victims. 

“He will continue to be monitored in case any new assets can be identified that would allow us to apply to the court to increase the value of his confiscation order.”

Seakens was told that if he did not pay back the £1,037,948 within three months of the order, a further seven years would be added to the 13-year prison sentence he is already serving.
A number of victims were elderly and were cold called before being pressured into investing in carbon offset products that would not even return the amount they spent on them, let alone a profit. Some victims had to re-mortgage or sell their homes, others put back retirement plans, some suffered ill health, and were unable to tell their loved ones about their situation.

In total, the victims were defrauded out of £3,371,059 by Seakens and his business partner Luke Ryan, who was sentenced to six-years in prison. 

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

  • Paul Seakens (DOB 12/3/1961) and Luke Ryan (DOB 24/12/1987) went on trial in January 2021 at Southwark Crown Court. Both were convicted of fraudulent trading. In addition, Seakens was convicted of four counts of concealing and converting criminal property – effectively money laundering. They were sentenced in May the same year.
  • Portia Ragnauth is a Specialist Prosecutor in the Proceeds of Crime Enforcement Team of the Crown Prosecution Service.
  • 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
  • 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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