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  • Writer's pictureNeil Bromage

The Great British Property Scam - SFO Investigates Northern Powerhouse Developments

The Serious Fraud Office has launched a major fraud investigation into care home entrepreneur Gavin Woodhouse.

The probe will focus on investments he offered in care homes and hotels between 2013 and 2019.

Woodhouse raised more than £80m from amateur investors, promising generous returns.

The SFO said it "is investigating suspected fraud and money laundering in relation to the conduct of business by Gavin Woodhouse and individuals and companies associated with him".

What happened?

Gavin Woodhouse is an entrepreneur who raised more than £80m from amateur investors between 2013 and 2019. He said the cash would be used to build care homes and buy and refurbish hotels. He gave investors the chance of buying a room in a care home, a hotel or another form of holiday accommodation. He typically promised 10 yearly dividends of about 10% - paid out of the rent the room would generate - plus a commitment to buy the room back after a decade at 125% of the purchase price.

But an investigation by The Guardian and ITV News into the scheme in 2019 revealed that many of Mr Woodhouse's projects were incomplete, while the businessman's firms had a multimillion-pound black hole.

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