Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

'It sounded convincing but I was suckered'

By Simon Atkinson
Personal finance reporter, BBC News

Rex and Bridget  Hudson
Mr Hudson hopes others will not fall for similar scams

Buying shares in a technology company that was doing well on the stock market seemed like a sound investment.

But soon after pumping £6,275 into shares, Rex Hudson realised he had been conned.

The 79-year-old retired designer from Cornwall had given up on getting anything back from the shares he was talked into buying - which turned out to be worthless.

But after a court ordered two men to hand over more than £1m they had conned from investors through a fraudulent share-selling operation, known as a boiler room scam, Mr Hudson is hoping to get some money back.

'Persuasive'

"For a long time I thought about what I could have done with the money, how could have helped the family, the younger generation," he told the BBC.

"It's amazing how easy it was to get drawn in and I felt like such an idiot. Eventually I told my son, but felt quite ashamed of the situation."

I was talked into thinking it was a good deal
Rex Hudson

Mr Hudson recalls receiving unsolicited "cold calls" from a brokers firm called Bayshore - offering shares in an emerging broadband technology firm.

"These guys were really building it up, saying only one block of shares was being made available to the general public.

"I said I wasn't really interested in getting involved in speculation.

"The share price had gone up and up in the weeks they had been calling me. I chewed it over but they were extremely persuasive and eventually just thought, 'Why not?'

"I all seemed above board, I was sent newspaper cuttings about the firm, and was told to look at the broker's website which looked legitimate.

WHAT IS A BOILER ROOM?
Boiler rooms are defined as share selling operations operating abroad, which are unauthorised by the FSA, and in which the shares sold are "overpriced, restricted for onward sale and have little or no realisable value."

"I thought it would be fun to watch this investment and I set a maximum I would invest was £3,000, but somehow or other I ended up with just over £6,000 worth.

"I was talked into thinking it was a good deal, but I was suckered."

'Old-fashioned'

Mr Hudson said he had thought he was being sensible - opting to pay by cheque rather than via the internet.

Things took a twist when he was contacted and told his cheque had been lost, and he was asked to send another.

"My gut feeling was that something wasn't right. I thought about backing out, but I'd given my word. I suppose it's a bit old-fashioned but my word was my bond."

He cancelled the first cheque and sent off another cheque which was quickly cashed.

'Absolutely brilliant'

The shares arrived several weeks later but Mr Hudson had already realised he had fallen victim to a scam after talking with his bank manager, who contacted the FSA.

His information - including notes he took during phone calls and comments he received - helped the authorities bring action in court against the perpetrators.

Aniz Kassamali Dhanji Manji had agreed to return £1m to investors, the FSA said, while Suresh Maganlal Bhowan would pay £17,233.

"The FSA have been diving and digging for information and have been absolutely brilliant," Mr Hudson said.

"I did not hold much hope but it appears that they have been successful and that all my money is not lost. If I get half of it back I will be pleased.

"I'll never play around with shares again - and if I did choose to buy some more it'd be through the bank or another safe situation, rather than getting involved with all the prattle on the telephone."

* People who have bought shares through Bayshore are advised to contact the FSA, on 0845 606 1234.



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