Two British brothers – Peter and Andrew Currie – have been sentenced to eight years in prison over fraud and money laundering.

The charges stem from a peer-to-peer investment firm called Collateral that was founded by the pair and subsequently collapsed in February 2018. 

On its official website, the site claimed that it was officially registered and legitimised by the FCA, claims which were proven untrue and led to the arrest of both founding brothers.  

It came after a decision at the end of 2015, which saw Peter Currie, a Collateral Director, switch the details of a separate company he had agreed to sell – Regal Pawnbrokers Ltd – for the details of Collateral on the FCA’s public Register. 

This was followed by a period of 18 months, which led to the company urging consumers to invest in loans on the platform – highlighting the lie that they were registered by the FCA as evidence for legitimacy. 

In January 2018, the FCA notified Peter Currie that they had uncovered the Register change and ordered Collateral to cease unauthorised business. After this, Collateral not only continued to receive investments, but Peter and Andrew also removed approximately £750,000 from Collateral client accounts. 

Steve Smart, Joint Executive Director of Enforcement & Market Oversight, reacted to the sentencing of the duo. 

He said: “Peter Currie fraudulently amended the Register to entice investors in, and together with Andrew, stole client money once they knew the game was up. Unfortunately, the investors will now be left to pick up the tab for the loans that have turned bad. 

“The FCA has begun confiscation proceedings to recover the financial benefit obtained by the defendants, as well as compensation proceedings to recover investor funds. We welcome these significant sentences which show we will take every enforcement action at our disposal to pursue criminals and protect consumers.”

At the sentencing hearing, both defendants were also disqualified from being company directors.

In sentencing, Judge Griffith stated when it comes to Peter Currie that “Collateral was built on foundations of sand and dishonesty” as a result of his fraudulent register change. 

In respect of Andrew Currie, Judge Griffith said “the clearest impression of your actions …. was to get more money out to the detriment of investors”.