Victims in a multi-million pound foreign exchange scam in Cornwall are being asked to come forward for compensation.

It is the latest update in Operation Octagon, which relates to a Devon and Cornwall Police investigation into Crown Currency Exchange Ltd, based in Hayle, which began in 2010.

In 2017, confiscation and compensation orders were issued to Susan Benstead and Edward James by Southwark Crown Court and since then as funds have been made available, some victims have received their compensation.

Further funds are still outstanding from Mrs Benstead and the HMCTS London Regional Confiscation Unit is beginning to reach out to the remaining victims who are due compensation.

The investigation began after the Hayle firm went bust in October 2010, owing 12,500 clients a total of £20 million.

From October 2010 onwards Devon and Cornwall Police conducted an investigation into the firm and the conduct of the directors and company officers, which resulted in successful prosecutions at Southwark Crown Court London in May 2015.

At Southwark Crown Court the jury returned guilty verdicts in respect of Edward Norman James and Susan Benstead, among others.

Devon and Cornwall Police then conducted confiscation investigations in respect of Edward Norman James and Susan Benstead.

In July 2017, at Southwark Crown Court, the following confiscation and compensation orders were made:

  • Susan Benstead was ordered to pay £868,580.00.
  • Edward James was ordered to pay £115,923.80.
  • Edward James was also ordered to pay £85,234.90 compensation order.

More than 7,000 victims were awarded compensation on a pro rota share of each of the amounts lost.

To date HM Courts and Tribunals Service's London Regional Confiscation Unit have been administering the payment of compensation to all the victims when funds had been collected from Susan Benstead and Edward James.

Edward James’ confiscation order and compensation orders had been satisfied in full, but police said Susan Benstead had a "significant sum outstanding", dependent on her sale of property overseas.

The funds previously paid by Mr James and Mrs Benstead have already been paid out on a pro rata basis to the victims, with a further payment due from the amount owed by Mrs Benstead.

Now the London Confiscation Unit expects that Mrs Benstead will be making a "significant payment imminently" towards settlement of her order following the sale of her former home in France.

In an update, Devon and Cornwall Police said: "HMCTS intend to contact all victims again to confirm their current residence and seek confirmation of bank account details so any further payments of compensation can be readily administered via BACS or your preferred payment method.

"The HMCTS recognise that many creditors may have moved since the last payment in 2018, their personal details / banking details may have altered.

"You can expect to be contacted by the HMCTS London Confiscation Unit, and any questions can be directed to HMCTS. They will be again looking to make payments on a pro rata basis from the next tranche of money from Mrs Benstead.

Details for the office dealing with the confiscation order pay-out can be found here.