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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 16:13 GMT
Man who conned churchgoers jailed
A fraudster who persuaded fellow churchgoers to hand over millions of pounds to fund his luxury lifestyle has been jailed for seven years.

Lindani Mangena, 24, from Romford, Essex, persuaded 1,000 south London churchgoers to invest in a bogus firm.

He was found guilty of fraudulent trading, money laundering and carrying on an unauthorised investment business.

Dean Hinkson, from West Croydon, and Curtis Powell, from Thornton Heath, were found guilty of aiding the fraud.

'Ruthless advantage'

London's Southwark Crown Court heard that Mangena opened a headquarters in the City of London to carry out the crime between July 2003 and March 2004.

Through his JNL Distributions business he, Hinkson and Powell offered a string of bogus investments, promising investors guaranteed profits of up to 3,000% in just six months.

Prosecuting, Stephen Winberg said Mangena took "ruthless advantage" of the trust and common religious beliefs he shared with his clients, most of whom were Seventh Day Adventists.

"The victims were much more ready to believe what they were told because it came from members of the same tight-knit religious community," he said.

The men took a minimum of 3.2m from investors, the court heard.

Luxury hotels

The jury was told Mangena then spent "large chunks" of the money on luxury flats, Mercedes and other expensive cars and travelling to luxury hotels.

Mangena did not give evidence in the trial. Through his barrister he said he had set up a legitimate business in good faith, only for it to be corrupted by his co-defendants.

But after more than 26 hours of deliberation the jury unanimously found him guilty.

Hinkson, 29, and Powell, 31, were found guilty of inviting people to engage in the fraudulent investment.


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