29 Sep 2021
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating the Alpha and Green Park group of companies for suspected fraud in relation to the companies’ student accommodation and holiday park developments.
On Wednesday, 29 September, following a six month covert investigation into the Alpha and Green Park businesses, the SFO carried out a series of co-ordinated raids, interviews and mandatory requests for evidence across the country.
Working with Cleveland Police, the SFO carried out formal searches on multiple properties, arresting and interviewing one suspect. At the same time, the SFO also issued several Section 2 notices, which force companies to provide relevant information.
The SFO suspects the Alpha-branded companies of fraudulently misleading investors into purchasing leaseholds for student accommodation in Leicestershire, Lancashire, Staffordshire and West Yorkshire. The Green Park-branded companies are suspected to be part of a similar scheme to sell leaseholds for holiday accommodation in Devon.
Alpha and Green Park branded companies sold investments into leasehold units between 2014 and 2019, promising investors 8-10% returns on their investment over the first 10 years. Over 1,500 investors from around 50 different countries invested an estimated £150 million into the leasehold schemes on the back of these guaranteed returns, but all stopped receiving these in 2018.
Meanwhile, the directors of the companies are thought to have made around £20 million from their schemes.
Commenting on the case, Mick Gallagher, Chief Investigator, Serious Fraud Office, said:
“Thousands of ordinary people lose their pensions or life savings on risky schemes, while those at the top line their own pockets and enjoy a lavish lifestyle. The Serious Fraud Office is committed to delivering justice for victims of fraud and corruption. We invite anyone who believes they have a connection with our investigation to come forward.”
Investigators will contact UK-based investors and ask them to fill out a questionnaire by 30 November 2021. The information provided will help the SFO to identify and pursue new information and to continue progressing the investigation as quickly as possible.
SFO Press Office
2. Mick Gallagher, Chief Investigator, Serious Fraud Office, is available to be interviewed on today’s announcement. Please contact email@example.com or call 020 7239 7000 to bid to speak to him.
3. The SFO fights complex financial crime, delivers justice for victims and protects the UK’s global reputation as a safe place to do business. We investigate and prosecute the most serious or complex cases of fraud, bribery and corruption. We also recover the proceeds of crime worldwide.
4. Under Director Lisa Osofsky, we have secured convictions against 21 individuals and companies, recovered over £1 billion of illicit gains, and secured eight agreements with companies including Serco, G4S and Airbus, compelling them to pay penalties and reform to prevent future law-breaking.
5. Under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987, the Serious Fraud Office is empowered to compel individuals or organisations to appear for interview by SFO staff, produce specified documents requested by the SFO, and answer questions of provide information requested by the SFO. It is a criminal offence to refuse an SFO Section 2 request without good reason and the SFO has previously convicted individuals who failed to comply.
6. The schemes under investigation are:
1. Westbeach Holiday Park
2. 24-26 Norfolk Street
3. Park Lane House
4. Tudor Studios
5. College Street Village
6. The Foundry (Phases I and II)
7. Jubilee Court
8. Mandale Terrace
9. Q Studios
10. Scholars Village
11. Millfield House
12. The Box, Preston
13. The Chapel, Ambleside
14. Scholars Court
15. Ilfracombe Holiday Village
16. Primrose Hill
17. Pre-tenanted (Hylton Road, Roker Avenue, Villette Road, Sunderland)
7. The full list of companies under investigation is below: