Crypto boss ‘was the brains behind £1.3million fraud’

  • James Gillingham is still at large, running investment schemes in the Far East 
  • The father-of-two has set up two cryptocurrency trading firms out there

A British businessman in Singapore has been named by a judge as the mastermind of a £1.3million Ponzi fraud said to have left victims ‘financially ruined’.

But even though three of his associates were convicted last month, James Gillingham is still at large, running investment schemes in the Far East.

Mr Gillingham, who lives in a luxury Singapore waterfront apartment, manages a global cryptocurrency brokerage with thousands of investors.

However, he was the brains behind a ‘sophisticated’ scam in which a fake trading platform was used to dupe victims into making ‘multiple investments’ between 2015 and 2016, Southwark Crown Court in south London was told.

He recruited a gang who used the names of TV drama show characters to pose as brokers and cold-call targets, pressuring them to pay into in a scheme promising generous returns.

But every penny went to the fraudsters, often costing victims their life savings and causing marriage breakdowns and destroying retirement plans.

James Gillingham CEO (pictured) is still at large, running investment schemes in the Far East
Mr Gillingham (pictured) manages a global cryptocurrency brokerage with thousands of investors
Mr Gillingham’s court listed address is at the six-star luxury apartment block the Sail at Marina Bay, Singapore

The other gang members were finally jailed last month, but the Mail can reveal that before the start of his court proceedings, Gillingham moved to the Far East to run new investment schemes.

The Essex-born father of two has set up two cryptocurrency trading firms out there, targeting investors across the globe. The most recent is Fleamint, an exchange for investors to ‘trade crypto assets with trust and security’.

In a press release in October 2023 it announced it had secured £8million from a global investment group, and on its website it claims to have 830,000 users.

While in Singapore, he also set up another crypto trading platform called Finxflo, which he said employed more than 80 financiers in Europe, Asia and the US.

Mr Gillingham was interviewed by CNN and the business channel Bloomberg TV to promote Finxflo, which he said raised £12million in investments in three years.

Its website said it had an ‘unwavering commitment to do the right thing’ and had a reputation for ‘trust and integrity’.

Meanwhile, ex-associates Denis Deegan, 49, Darren Peck, 43, and Sujanthan Sotheeswaran, 35, were convicted last month of tricking investors into paying cash to his former UK firm, Choice Option.

Carolina Bracken, prosecuting, told the court: ‘The defendants duped the victims into making ‘investments’, telling lies about the investment opportunities and their own experience.’

Posing as brokers, they used aliases with prospective clients, including ‘Jonathan Hart’ from the Seventies show Hart To Hart, ‘Miles Richards’, ‘Alistair Ryle’ and ‘Harry Villiers’ from the 2014 film The Riot Club and ‘Harvey Specter’ from the drama Suits.

This persuaded a ‘large number of victims’ to hand over £1,255,220 to be traded on the binary options market, giving a fixed monthly return and annual profits.

But Choice Option was not connected to a banking system and the cash went to staff and on expenses. ‘None of the victims’ money was invested,’ Ms Bracken said. ‘This fraud was created by Mr Gillingham. He recruited other people. He made more out of the fraud than anyone else.’

Suspicious investors alerted police in February 2016. By October 2016, clients could not access their accounts, contact staff or withdraw funds. In 2019, he was named by BBC Crimewatch.

One victim said her losses meant her bank called in a loan, her children had to quit private school, her marriage ended and she had significant mental health issues.

Sentencing the three men for fraud by false representation, Judge Martin Griffith said: ‘I am in no doubt that James Gillingham was the brains.’

He jailed Sotheeswaran, of Streatham, south London, for three years, and Deegan, of Barnet, north London for two years and eight months, while Peck, of Camden, north London, received a 21-month suspended sentence.

Gillingham refused to comment.

Read More:Crypto boss ‘was the brains behind £1.3million fraud’