Binary options fraud is an investment scam that is typically set up to run on trading platforms that use software to manipulate outcomes.

What is the sentence for binary options fraud?

 The typical scenario is that the customer will see that their account is in profit as they pay into their account, but when they stop, their accumulated funds will be lost in a series of unstoppable trades.

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This offence is challenged by heavy regulation but can still catch unsuspecting victims who are looking to transform savings into bigger nest eggs. During the first half of 2017, more than £18 million was reported as missing to City of London Police from binary options fraud scams.

In this type of crime, it’s unlikely that investments were ever traded and that the ‘profits’ did not exist. The brokers use this approach to encourage more significant investment by the customer, leading to significant personal financial loss.

If you are being accused of binary options fraud, taking the advice of a competent and experienced fraud solicitor can help you.

To help you to understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of binary options fraud, we’ve detailed the sentencing guidelines below.  Please note that a competent and experienced solicitor may be able to get any prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.

More about binary options fraud

For the person involved in a binary options fraud scam, being caught will be very alarming. You’ll find yourself being very concerned about what the future may bring if you are convicted. There will be anxiety and sleepless nights as you wonder if there is a prison sentence involved. You’ll also be very worried about how you can pay back the monies scammed from unsuspecting victims.

Here are some examples of binary options fraud that may have led to the situation at hand.

  • Refusal to reimburse funds or profits to customers – this will typically involve cancelling withdrawal requests, ignoring emails and telephone calls and sometimes freezing accounts and accusing the investors themselves of fraud.
  • Identity theft – for instance, using photocopies of a passport, a credit card, utility bills or any other personal data to access and secure further money. This personal information could also leave an unsuspecting investor open to identity theft.
  • Trading software manipulation – for example, not allowing winning trades to come to fruition. If the customer does win a trade, then pay-outs and prices are distorted, and the expiration time is extended to ensure the deal becomes a loss.

What is the average sentence for binary options fraud offences?

When it comes to being sentenced for binary options fraud offences, it depends on what the charges are. The typical sentence is likely to be  four or five years in prison, and you may be expected to pay a fine. You may also be subject to ancillary order as detailed below.   The maximum sentence for fraud is 10 years.

The following is an excerpt taken from the website of the Sentencing Council. This is the information that judges refer to when they are considering what sentences to give for this offence. However, please note that each case will be looked at on an individual basis.

The level of culpability is determined by weighing up all the factors of the case to determine the offender’s role and the extent to which the offending was planned and the sophistication with which it was carried out.

Culpability demonstrated by one or more of the following

A – High culpability

  • A leading role where offending is part of a group activity
  • Involvement of others through pressure, influence
  • Abuse of position of power or trust or responsibility
  • Sophisticated nature of offence/significant planning
  • Fraudulent activity conducted over sustained period of time
  • Large number of victims
  • Deliberately targeting victim on basis of vulnerability

B – Medium culpability

  • A significant role where offending is part of a group activity
  • Other cases that fall between categories A or C because:
    • Factors are present in A and C which balance each other out and/or
    • The offender’s culpability falls between the factors as described in A and C

C – Lesser culpability

  • Involved through coercion, intimidation or exploitation
  • Not motivated by personal gain
  • Peripheral role in organised fraud
  • Opportunistic ‘one-off’ offence; very little or no planning
  • Limited awareness or understanding of the extent of fraudulent activity

Where there are characteristics present which fall under different levels of culpability, the court should balance these characteristics to reach a fair assessment of the offender’s culpability.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the binary options fraud sentence?

When sentencing for binary options fraud, your case will be investigated thoroughly by the police and other regulatory agents.

Whether you have taken part in a group activity or if you were forced into taking part will be considered. In addition, if you’ve used a false identity, or you have used the identity of others to access more funds, this will also be taken into account to decide your sentence.

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following are some of the other factors considered when the court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Any previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Whether the activity you took part in was originally legitimate
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any serious medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for Binary Options Fraud with a guilty plea?

In recent years, a number of changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.

If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.

After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten percent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.

If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

 What are some of the other consequences and penalties of binary options fraud offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of a binary options fraud offence. These are extra elements of punishment that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that can affect a dependent’s finances, your property or business or financial activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of binarys options fraud include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Victim’s surcharge
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Financial reporting orders
  • Disqualification from directing a company
  • Confiscation orders

As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.

In addition, the court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining sufficient evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims, and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How sentences can be added to national information databases

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all of these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to court and you are convicted of binary options fraud and defrauding the HMRC tax office, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

ARE Binary Options traders regulated?

Our fraud lawyers understand that binary options traders were not initially required to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. We are familiar with the rules on regulation by the Gambling Commission and understand the logic and attraction of having primary offices based in Europe or elsewhere; since regulation is avoided by not owning remote gambling equipment in the UK.

Many countries consider binary options a financial product rather than a gambling product and allow companies which are legally established to trade lawfully in another country. This variation in recognition as a financial or gambling product opens the doors for Binary Options Traders to operate in other countries and focus on customers in the UK.

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

We have vast expertise defending those accused of binary options fraud and investment

Most clients who seek the advice of our expert fraud solicitors fail to understand that it is the prosecution who ‘must prove the case’ to convict you. It is for the prosecution to prove, so that the Jury is no less than sure, beyond any reasonable doubt in their mind, that you were in an Agreement with the others (Conspiracy) and that you were intentionally dishonest in making or trying to make money or causing someone loss.

If you or somebody you know is currently under investigation for binary options fraud, you may not only have the police pursuing you, but you could also have other regulators and prosecutors after you. It might be that you or your business is under investigation and you need the support and specialist legal advice of fraud solicitors.

In addition to a competent solicitor spending time with the defendant, collecting character references and medical information can be what transforms the outcome of a fraud trial for the better. By preparing thoroughly, a skilful solicitor can often get a sentence reduced, and, in some cases, the case dismissed before it reaches the court.

What will happen when I instruct a fraud lawyer?

We firmly believe that early action in critical with regards to increasing the success rates of any case. In cases of this nature, investigations are often intimidating and complex. You will need legal advice at every crossroad to protect you from being unfairly punished, in some cases, for a crime that you did not commit.

Please note that everything you say and every decision you make will potentially shape your long-term future and that of your loved ones. We, therefore, offer a free initial consultation regardless of your means. This allows you to get to know us and us to get to know you.

Please contact our binary options fraud lawyers to arrange your meeting, whether face to face, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can also send us a WhatsApp message using the link in the bottom banner if you are viewing this page on a mobile phone device.

Our fraud solicitors focus exclusively on defending clients named in allegations of fraud. They do not work in other areas of law practice. In addition to being fully knowledgeable of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and can also advise you on any issues with Restraint Orders and Confiscation Proceedings.

We understand the dynamics of binary options fraud systems, the way in which they operate, the different departments within them and the people who control them or who benefits from them. We have defended those involved in investment frauds at all levels. Whether the organisers, the floor-managers, the IT technicians or the sales reps.

No matter what your level of involvement, our fraud lawyers will give you a pro-active and energetic service. We will not only choose the best fraud solicitors to support your case, a robust defence strategy but also guidance on which steps need to be taken to potentially save you from imprisonment. Our fraud lawyers have extensive experience and deep expertise in this area of law.

Arrest & Interview

At the outset of an investigation of this nature, it is commonplace for the police to seize all your electronic devices for analysis. This will feel to you as like an intrusion of your privacy and any other businesses that you have running could be affected. They may be seized for weeks, months and sometimes even longer.

In this day and age people rely heavily upon technology, and we completely understand you may feel at a loss without them. It is essential you contact our team of binary options fraud solicitors the moment you become aware an investigation is imminent or underway.

Not only can our team prepare you for what can be a lengthy and gruelling process, once the investigation is underway, but we can also put pressure on the police to conclude their investigation as quickly as possible. Our binary options fraud solicitors provide representation throughout police interviews and at all stages of the court process.

Our binary options fraud solicitors will fully support you and ensure all possibilities are explored when defending your case. We will never accept the prosecution’s case at face value. We will seek out weaknesses in their case, we will challenge illegally obtained evidence and try to kick out inadmissible evidence. If any of the charges cannot be proved by law, we will apply for those charges to be dismissed.

In the event that you accept the offence and are looking at the potential consequences or sentences imposed for binary options fraud cases, our legal team will create a defence strategy to do their best to achieve your objectives. We will do everything possible to present your case and personal circumstances in the best light, so the Judge feels legally incapable of imposing unduly harsh sentences and where possible, we will always fight tooth and nail to avoid jail terms.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.

In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

Please Contact Us and ask to speak to our fraud lawyers and binary options fraud solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find at the bottom banner if you open this page on your mobile phone device.

Get in touch with us now for binary options fraud legal help.

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