Gang raided after targeting BBC reporter in gold scam
One of the UK's largest anti-fraud operations has broken up a gang suspected of running a multi-million-pound gold investment fraud.
Information gathered by Radio 4's You and Yours prompted raids by 120 officers from 10 constabularies.
Eighteen properties were targeted and 13 arrests were made.
City of London Police say more than 100 people have lost £2.8m having been cold-called with offers of high returns from investing in gold.
The fraud came to light after the gang made the offer to me, not realising I am a fraud reporter with You and Yours.
Detectives used information gathered by the programme to trace the suspects through bank accounts believed to have been set up to receive and launder the stolen funds, most of which had been withdrawn in cash or transferred overseas.
The gang is believed to have been working out of four so-called "boiler rooms", cold-calling people at home through fraudulent companies Demmore, Simply Airtime, S+E Future and Vodacell - not to be confused with companies of a similar name.
The searches were carried out at addresses in Milton Keynes, Northampton, Peterborough, Ashford in Surrey, Dagenham and Harrow in London, Brough in East Yorkshire, Basildon, Stamford in Lincolnshire, Wolverhampton and Hinckley in Leicestershire.
Fifty-three-year-old Michael handed over almost £90,000.
He said: "You just think it's too good to miss, there can't be a problem and you just kid yourself a bit.
"I haven't had anything back at all. I just don't understand how people can do this - they're predators."
Det Insp Teresa Russell, who is leading the investigation for the City of London Police, said: "We believe this gang has ruthlessly targeted people in the supposed security of their own homes with the promise of making big and quick returns if they invest their savings in gold leasing.
"The reality seems to be that the whole deal is a scam designed by the fraudsters to make them as much money as possible."
The investigation continues.