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Financial Crimes
01/12/2011

UK man wanted for $130 million international fraud and money laundering scheme extradited from Spain

Richard Sinclair Pope in the custody of two ICE agents
Richard Sinclair Pope in the custody of two ICE agents

TAMPA, Fla. - Richard Sinclair Pope, 53, a citizen of the United Kingdom who had been residing in Spain, appeared in federal court in the Middle District of Florida Tuesday after being extradited to the United States, as part of an ongoing, $130 million dollar international fraud and money laundering investigation being conducted by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Secret Service and the City of London Police.

In March 2009, Pope was charged by indictment, along with six other defendants, for conspiring to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and money laundering, as well as substantive counts of illegal monetary transactions, mail fraud and wire fraud.

Last fall, Pope was apprehended in Spain. Pursuant to official government request, Pope was extradited to the United States.

"We are pleased that Pope has been located and extradited to the United States to face these charges before the court," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa. "The victims of this scheme thought that they were legitimately investing in their futures and some lost substantial amounts of money. They deserve to see those responsible brought before justice."

According to the indictment, from at least as early as July 2004 through at least March 13, 2008, Pope and others engaged in a fraud scheme, in which they hijacked the identities of dormant, publicly-traded companies; caused the sale of virtually worthless shares of stock in the hijacked companies to victim-investors, primarily in the United Kingdom, using boiler room telemarketers, mostly in Spain, who employed high-pressure and misleading sales techniques; caused victim-investors to wire their investment funds to bank accounts in the Middle District of Florida and elsewhere; used the victim-investors' funds to perpetuate the scheme and for their own personal enrichment.

"The Secret Service has a long history of working closely with its law enforcement partners to investigate financial crimes around the world," said John Joyce, special agent in charge of the Tampa U.S. Secret Service office. "Mr. Pope would not have been brought to justice without the hard work and cooperation of all involved agencies."

Pope faces 20 years in federal prison on each count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and on each of ten counts of mail fraud and nine counts of wire fraud, and he faces 10 years in federal prison for each of three counts of illegal monetary transactions.

The ICE Attaché in London, United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Securities Investigators and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also participated in this investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachelle DesVaux Bedke and Kelley Howard-Allen.