Money bags crook had wanted to build a detached house in the front garden of his Eastleigh home.
He lived a life of luxury with fast cars and expensive holidays but today Eastleigh’s first multi-million pound criminal is changing his designer clothes for a grey prison uniform.
Although home for Luke Ryan (33) was a modest semi on Scott Road, he and partner-in-crime Paul Seakens (60), from Whitewebb, Enfield, made millions by defrauding elderly and vulnerable investors out of their life savings.
Ryan and Seakens were directors of a company called Enviro Associates which was based on Southgate Street in Winchester. The pair operated a ‘boiler room scam’ making cold calls and then using false claims and a high-pressure sales pitch to con their victims into buying near worthless carbon credits at prices inflated by up to 1000%. Because carbon credit trading is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the victims are unable to claim compensation and have lost everything.
During the 16 week-long trial the court had heard how the two men had used the money to fund lavish lifestyles and buy sports cars including a Bentley Continental GT.
An acquaintance, who did not wish to be named, told Eastleigh News that Ryan had spent thousands on extensively remodelling his house and installing a big hot tub out the back.
In 2018, following 16 letters from neighbours, Eastleigh Borough Council refused to grant him planning permission to build an additional three-bedroom detached house in his front garden with parking for four vehicles.
Ryan’s rags to riches story finally came full circle at Southwark Crown court on Friday (May 28) as he was sentenced to six years in prison for fraudulent trading and disqualified from acting as a director for eight years.
Seakens was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison for one count of fraudulent trading and four counts of converting criminal property. He also received a 12 year directors disqualification.
A spokesperson for the CPS said that Seakens could have laundered up to £36 million through a network of fraudulent brokers while the Evening Standard has claimed that he had previously obtained £70 million from a lender for a company he controlled which then collapsed.
Addressing Seakens, Her Honour Judge Cahill QC said:
“In my judgement now, you are a man completely without credibility. Not a single word that comes from you can be trusted”
Turning to Ryan the HHJ Cahill QC asked:
“How did your conscience ever let you take thousands of pounds from innocent and trusting members of the public?”
HHJ Cahill QC also commended the City of London Police for their hard work and dedication to the eight-year-long investigation.