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Charges Over Currency Exchange Collapse

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7:01am 16th August 2013

Seven people have been charged after a Cornish holiday money company collapsed - owing £20m.

Thirteen thousand people lost their money when Crown Currency Exchange in Hayle went under.

Five people from Penzance are among those who were charged when they answered bail at Launceston police station.

It follows a police investigation that has lasted almost three years.

Customers lost sums up to £100,000 pounds each - a lot of them in the Duchy.

Those charged are:

  • Peter Benstead aged 70 from Penzance charged with offences of fraudulent trading, money laundering, perverting the course of justice, theft, deception and false accounting companies act offences.
  • Edward James aged 73 years from Glastonbury charged with fraudulent trading, false accounting and companies act offences.
  • Julian Benstead aged 44 years from Penzance charged with fraudulent trading and theft.
  • Katey Calvimonte aged 35 years from Penzance charged with deception, and perverting the course of justice.
  • Roderick Schmidt aged 44 years from Penzance charged with fraudulent accounting, perverting the course of justice, theft, false accounting and companies act offences.
  • Victoria Obrien aged 37 years from Welwyn, Hertfordshire charged with perverting the course of justice.
  • Stephen Matthews aged 50 years from Penzance charged with fraudulent trading, theft, false accounting and companies act offences.

Police say some of the charges relate to parent company Crown Holdings Ltd and to Mayfair and Gold, a cash-for-gold company.

Crown Currency was set up to allow people to order their money up to a year in advance at a set price.

But, because it was not covered by the Financial Services Authority, customers lost their money.

It employed around forty people at its headquarters in Hayle's Foundry Square.

All seven of the accused men and women will appear at Westminster Magistrates on 17th September.

7:01am 16th August 2013

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