ICSM Business – Care Home Industry News: arrests as cops seize private jet and yachts, the missing £50m, and the scandal of the collapsed Carlauren Group

ICSM Business – Care Home Industry News: arrests as cops seize private jet and yachts, there's the missing £50m, and the scandal of the collapsed Carlauren Group

By Harry Mottram: The Serious Fraud Office swooped to arrest three people involved in the collapsed property developer the Carlauren Group today Tuesday, March 12th, 2024. They also took possession of a private jet and two yachts as they moved to investigate the finances behind UK registered property developer, the Carlauren Group, which collapsed into administration in November 2019. They also raided sites in St Leonard's, Dorset, and Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, supported by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

It is the latest chapter in the ongoing scandal behind the demise of the Sean Murray's Carlauren Group (pictured) that owned so-called luxury care homes in Sutton, Bridlington,

Blackpool, Sandown, Torquay, Martock and Lydney amongst many others. Few of the homes were semi derelict shells while others had elderly residents living there who were under the impression that they were investing in the properties and would receive dividends having forked out £100,000 each in what was a scam.

When an investigation was initially carried out by the administrators Jackson and Armstrong into the property empire, they found that £50m was unaccounted for. Mr Murray, who represented himself at the hearing in London in 2019, previously told the court the money had been transferred to his personal account to be held in trust for the company. As more enquiries were made out of the 23 properties only nine were operating as planned while private yachts, a jet and luxury cars appeared to have been purchased with millions of pounds transferred into Mr Murray’s personal bank account.

Nick Ephgrave QPM, director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), said: "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. Today's arrests are a major development in our investigation and a step towards getting the answers so many people need."

Those questions that need answers include those from elderly residents forced out of the care homes when they went bust – leaving them without their home and the payments they had made to buy the flats.

One of the homes that were never finished - pictures from the BBC

Sky News reported: “The Carlauren Group bought 23 properties across the UK, often former hotels including the historic Windlestone Hall in Durham and allegedly claimed to offer annual 10 per cent returns to investors as it sought to turn the buildings into high-end care homes. The group was said to have had 600 people and companies invest in the scheme through the purchase of rooms that were to be rented out to the elderly. This was inside luxury facilities that boasted of swimming pools, room service and other amenities. According to the SFO, the rooms were advertised and sold with a guaranteed annual payout and opportunity to sell the asset back for a profit after 10 years.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM  - the business membership group dedicated to fighting bad debts and late payers with many members involved in the print industry and allied trades – said: “It appears on the surface that greed was behind the scandal. The idea that you cheat people out of their life savings and promise of a comfortable retirement apartment in a care home is terrible. Not only were the residents and investors taken in but the staff at the functioning homes will have lost out and the suppliers to the various properties from building maintenance firms to the printers who created the glossy brochures will have nothing.”

Nick Ephgrave of the SFO said their enquiries were on-going.

Other care homes to have hit the skids in recent times include: 







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