Disgusted investors who lost £2.4million told that the case does not meet the Action Fraud threshold for investigation

Fraud is the most common crime in the country, with 3,675,000 cases recorded in the year ending this March.

But there are barely 7,000 fraud convictions annually and many alleged victims, like Anthony Tabor, will tell you how difficult it is to get the police to act on their complaints.

The 64-year-old had a pot of cash to invest after selling his house in Australia and returning to the UK.

One scheme he put money into was Ecohouse Developments Limited, run by Ferrari-driving Anthony Armstrong-Emery.

The company claimed it would build homes in Brazil, earning income when they were used in a ­government social housing scheme.

Investors paid around £23,000 per unit after being told they would get back their money plus 20% a year later, and being reassured their money was being paid through a respectable firm of solicitors, Sanders & Co of Stourbridge, West Midlands.

In 2014, Ecohouse was shut down by the Brazilian police over ­allegations of money laundering and tax evasion, and 850 investors lost around £21million.

In the UK, an Insolvency Service investigation resulted in Armstrong-Emery, 43, being banned from being a director for 14 years.

“Members of the public thought they were getting a great deal but were tricked into investing in a company that provided false and misleading information,” said Cheryl Lambert, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service.

Charles Fraser-MacNamara of law firm Sanders & Co was struck off as a solicitor.

He told a disciplinary tribunal that he “was not responsible for the misrepresentations, if any, which were actually given to the public” and insisted his role was limited to “signing various ­documents” in his capacity as ­international legal counsel.

The tribunal however found multiple counts of dishonesty against the 62-year-old, including the fact that he knew that Ecohouse was a Ponzi scheme which did not even own the land where the houses were supposed to be built, and that he was being paid £200 a day by Ecohouse while also supposedly acting for investors.

But the Solicitors ­Regulation Authority compensation scheme has refused to help the ­investors, saying it only covers losses suffered as a result of improper legal work, and claiming that ­Fraser-MacNamara was providing an investment rather than a legal service.

Mr Tabor describes this as a “loophole” being used to avoid helping victims.

It was six years ago this month that Action Fraud referred the case to The Metropolitan Police but to date there have been no arrests or charges.

A spokesman for the Met said this week that inquiries by its Economic Crime team are still ­continuing and that “there are hundreds of victims and the evidence is spread across numerous ­international jurisdictions”.

It was while at an Ecohouse ­creditors meeting that Mr Tabor came across someone who introduced him to a second investment scheme, this time in a company supplying boats to the off-shore wind power industry.

He took assurance from the fact that AIS Marine 2 Limited had been approved by HM Revenue & Customs for the Enterprise Investment Scheme, which encourages people to invest in new businesses by offering tax breaks.

An Insolvency Service report later detailed how the director, Paul ­Chandler, of Burgess Hill in West Sussex, transferred almost a £1million to another of his companies “of which £597,210 was not used for the benefit of AIS, to the detriment of the general body of creditors and contributing to AIS becoming insolvent”.

It collapsed, 25 investors lost £2.4million, and Chandler was banned from being a director for six years.

He told me that the collapse of AIS Marine was due to mismanagement by a third party and the boats being repossessed and re-sold at below market value.

He also insisted that the money that he transferred to another of his companies was legitimate payment for office services.

“This has been a disaster for me too, I’ve lost my house,” he said.

Mr Tabor took the matter to Action Fraud, run by the City of London Police, which told him that it would not be pursuing the case.

He appealed, and this has now also been rejected.

A complaints manager wrote to him last month to say: “Your report unfortunately has not met the threshold for it to be referred by National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to a police force for their consideration to investigate.

“NFIB receive in the region of 32,000 reports per month, and therefore it is imperative to implement a strict assessment review criteria.

“With regards to your complaint, unfortunately, I consider this matter to be closed, as I cannot take this further forward.”

All of which has left Mr Tabor feeling that victims of financial disasters are abandoned.

“According to Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, a £2.4m loss to 25 investors is below their threshold,” he said.

“This has life-changing consequences for the victims, yet the police are not equipped to deal with it, it seems far more effort would be put into a report of a stolen car.

“When these matters are ­investigated, as with Ecohouse, the delays are ridiculous.

“To employ my own lawyers wouldcost thousands and there is no legal aid.

“In my case I was rendered penniless and moved in with my mother with only £500 month Universal Credit.”

A spokesman for Action Fraud said: “With more than 32,000 reports of fraud made to Action Fraud every month, police forces unfortunately can’t investigate them all.

“The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, therefore, has to prioritise which cases to pass onto police forces for ‘pursue’ action. It is crucial reports which have viable lines of enquiry and are of significant threat to the public are actioned.

“Other reports can be sent to forces, and partners such as banks, for information and intelligence purposes.

“All reports remain on the NFIB system even if they aren’t passed on for investigation.

They can be used for intelligence purposes, to analyse trends, and can be linked to other reports in time.

“Reports not passed on for investigation can be subject to disruption action where fraudulent phone numbers or websites are taken down.

“Every report matters in helping us to build a bigger picture and spot complex fraud patterns, enabling us to prevent and disrupt fraud at all levels.”