A TOWIE star has been spared jail over a £450,000 diamond investment scam – making him the second from the reality TV show to be snared by fraud investigators.
Mike Hassini, 24, who last appeared on the ITV show in September, admitted money laundering for bogus firms Bridgewater Associates and RSD Assets.
The personal trainer admitted his part in scamming 28 investors out of up to £450,000 by selling them diamond investments which then disappeared.
This comes after The Only Way is Essex star Dan Edgar, 28, was served a disqualification notice last year for being a designated member at Reco Commodities in another "boiler room fraud".
Mike Hassini has swerved jail over his part in a £450,000 diamond investment scam
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The dissolved firm was wound up by the High Court for selling "worthless" coloured diamond investments to 18 victims as Edgar rose to fame on the reality TV show in 2015.
Hassini was among a 12 people who have been convicted in connection with the fraud after the firms’ offices were raided that year.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee Morton, of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Following a three-year long investigation into these complex boiler room frauds, the final defendant in the case has been convicted.
“The fraud involved a sophisticated plan that targeted victims who were looking to experiment with their hard earned money by making investments in different avenues.
Police investigated Mike’s business arrangements over three years
“They cold called, sent them professional brochures and they were given access to websites that purportedly allowed them to monitor their investments.
"Little did they know that the companies involved were fake and were run by criminals wanting to fund lavish lifestyles.
“I want to thank the victims for their patience, co-operation and support and I hope the conclusion of this case offers some justice to their victims.”
Hassini, of Pilgrims Hatch, Essex, got a 15-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, after he admitted money laundering at Basildon Crown Court.
He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work after the court heard he got previously got suspended jail for drug possession and drink driving.
The TOWIE star was last on screen in September
His associates, who were aged between 24 to 40, admitted or been convicted at trial of converting criminal property, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
Some have been jailed for more than two years. Others were given community orders and four defendants await sentencing at the court.
A spokesman for Essex Police said Bridgewater Associates and RSD Assets operated from late 2014 and February 2016 – about a year after Dan Edgar’s firm was burgled.
Earlier this year, bosses at Reco Commodities Aaron Fay, 32, Martin Ball, 30, and Sudhir Kundi, 39, were jailed for more than 11 years for running a "boiler room" full of "screaming 18-year-olds" to scam investors.
Their scam was uncovered after the trio called police after their premises was burgled in 2013.
Mike laundered money through fake companies
Officers investigated after seeing telephones with headsets, scripts on every desk, printed lists of names, addresses and telephone numbers, plus notepads containing handwritten notes about individuals and glossy brochures about diamonds.
They found employees at the company cold called victims saying they could make 15-25 percent profits on their investments in coloured diamonds.
The director and senior staff supplied staff with scripts and contact lists and scammed 18 people into buying gems for several thousands of pounds – inflating the price by "hundreds of percent".
The investigation saw Dan Edgar banned from being a company director for 14 years.
Hassini arriving at Westminster Magistrates Court, September 12 2016.
(Image: © Joe Newman / SWNS.com)
He was served a disqualification notice last year for being a designated member at the now dissolved firm.
A City of London Police spokesman said: "It was discovered that Reco Commodities, from 1 August 2013 to 30 June 2014, had defrauded a total of 18 victims and stolen a collective £415,000 from them.
"The majority were cold called using the lists of contact details supplied by Ball, while some were able to be contacted as they’d previously invested in other products or had previous business dealings with some members of the company, including Kundi.
"Reco Commodities were buying the diamonds from a legitimate diamond wholesaler, who were oblivious to the fraud being committed by the company."