Three Arrested in UK Luxury Care Home Scam

Published: 14 March 2024

Elderly Hand Cane 1Attracting investors with promises of upscale care homes, fraudsters diverted the invested funds to purchase luxury cars, yachts, and even a private jet for their personal use. (Photo: Rawpixel, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

Law enforcement in the United Kingdom raided two sites in southern England on Tuesday and arrested three suspects of an alleged 76 million pounds (US$97 million) fraud involving luxury care homes.

The raids in St. Leonard’s, Dorset, and Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, mark a pivotal moment in the investigation into the Carlauren Group, a U.K.-based property developer that collapsed in November 2019. Ths forced vulnerable elderly residents out of their homes and left more than 600 investors reeling from financial losses, according to the country’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The Carlauren Group, in a whirlwind of activity over four years, acquired 23 properties across the U.K., notably transforming the historic Windlestone Hall in Durham from a grand hotel into a luxurious care home, promising investors an enticing 10 percent annual return.

However, out of the 23 properties acquired, only nine were ever operational, with some still functioning as hotels rather than care homes, according to the SFO.

In addition to real estate, the group made investments in several vehicles allegedly intended for corporate use, including two Lamborghinis, a McLaren 570GT, a private jet, and two yachts.

Before the company’s collapse, over 600 people and firms eagerly bought into its promises, acquiring rooms within luxurious care home facilities that offered amenities like swimming pools and personalized service. They were lured in by a guaranteed annual return and the enticing prospect of up to 25 percent profit upon resale after a decade.

The BBC cited Land Registry records revealing that investors from across Europe, Africa, India, China, and the Far East, including a Saudi Princess and a pensioner from Wiltshire, had invested in the scheme.

The collapse of the Carlauren Group, with over 20 companies under its wing, reportedly left some of elderly residents displaced from their homes.

“This company’s abrupt collapse has created turmoil and enormous anxiety for many, with elderly people forced to vacate their homes and investors left with nothing,” Nick Ephgrave QPM, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, said.

He underscored that the recent arrests signify a pivotal moment in the SFO investigation, marking a crucial step toward delivering the essential answers sought by many impacted by the case.