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Fraudster wanted after failing to appear for sentencing

News   •   Apr 23, 2019 18:25 BST

[Wanted: Christopher Brummit]

Officers from the Met’s Organised Crime Command have released an image of a man wanted for failing to appear at court after admitting his part in a fraud operation which conned victims out of nearly £1million.

Christopher Brummit, 36 (13.06.82) of Bishop Stortford is being sought by officers after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering in December 2018.

He is part of an organised crime network which conned vulnerable victims out of nearly £1million whilst purporting to be fine-wine brokers. However, after admitting his guilt, he fled whilst on bail and his whereabouts remain unknown.

On Friday, 5 April, Brummit was sentenced in his absence at Southwark Crown Court to three years’ and three months imprisonment. His co-conspirators were also sentenced on the same day which put the organised crime gang behind bars for more than 17 years.

Officers are appealing for assistance from the public to trace Brummit’s whereabouts. A warrant has been issued for his arrest in relation to this matter and he is further wanted by Hertfordshire Police for an unrelated robbery offence.

DC Tony Rundle, who led the investigation, said: “I would like to appeal to members of the public to help us locate Brummit who has admitted his guilt to these callous crimes which ruined the lives of many people.

“During the joint inquiry carried out by the Met and Essex Police, the teams carried out a meticulous investigation to bring these offenders to justice and we won’t stop in our efforts to trace Brummit and bring him before the courts.

“I would urge anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact police at the earliest opportunity.”

During trial, the court heard how between 2013 and 2015, more than 50 people became unwitting victims of the group’s wide-scale fraud and money laundering scam.

The groups would cold-call elderly or vulnerable people, introduce themselves under fake names and claim they were brokers with expertise in fine wine.

They operated from an industrial estate on the outskirts of Great Dunmow and claimed to work for three companies - Mayfair Worldwide Trading Ltd, Commodex Global Limited and Winchester Associates Ltd - based in prime locations such as Mayfair. These companies were found to be fake.

Once they got hold of the victim, they would call them repeatedly and persuade them to sell their holding, or invest in fine wines, whilst stating they could sell them on their behalf for a profit. On some occasions the victims were told their wines would be exchanged for graphene or diamonds that did not exist.

The victims would transfer their wines hoping to receive their agreed payments within 28 days, however none of the victims ever received this promised money.

In August 2015, officers from the Met's Organised Crime Command launched a joint investigation with Essex Police after numerous victims came forward and reported their suspicions to Action Fraud.

Forensic analysis and financial investigations linked the defendants to the offences.

On 15 November 2015, the police investigation culminated in a series of search warrants and all five defendants were arrested. A substantial amount of contacts containing victims details were found within the properties.

They were all charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering in January and February 2018.

Anyone with information about Brummit’s whereabouts is asked to contact police on 101 quoting CAD 3031/18APR19 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.