A gang of fraudsters have been jailed for their involvement in an Essex wide scam - while former Towie star Michael Hassini received a suspended sentence.

In 2015 Essex Police launched an investigation into an investment fraud that saw victims pump money into fake companies involved with the diamond and binary trade industries.

Investors were cold called by people working for Bridgewater Associates Ltd and RSD Assets Ltd who used an established company's name and logo to gain an air of authenticity.

The investments soon disappeared, costing 28 victims between £400,000 and £450,000.

At Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday the last of 12 people, Tim Radford-Mathurin, pleaded guilty to his part in converting criminal property.

The 31 year-old broker, of Pyms Road, Chelmsford is due to be sentenced on Thursday, December 13.

He follows in the wake of Towie's Michael Hassini, 24, of Danes Way, Pilgrims Hatch, who previously received 15 months suspended for 18 months and 200 hours unpaid work for money laundering.

The personal trainer last appeared on the show in September, having previously been suspended for drug possession and drink driving.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Morton, of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Following a three-year long investigation into these complex boiler room frauds, the final defendant in the case has been convicted.

“The fraud involved a sophisticated plan that targeted victims who were looking to experiment with their hard earned money by making investments in different avenues.

“They cold called, sent them professional brochures and they were given access to websites that purportedly allowed them to monitor their investments. Little did they know that the companies involved were fake and were run by criminals wanting to fund lavish lifestyles.

“I want to thank the victims for their patience, co-operation and support and I hope the conclusion of this case offers some justice to their victims.”

The other people sentenced in connection with the fraud are:

Christopher Kirk, 26, a broker, of Brooker Raod, Waltham Abbey, was jailed for two years and four months following a trial for conspiracy to defraud;

George Herron, 26, of no fixed address, was jailed for two years and eight months after admitting two counts of conspiracy to defraud.

Samuel Jeal, 24, of Westmoreland Road, Bromley, was jailed for three years and six months after being found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud.

Rakeem Dixon, 25, of Paddock Mead, Harlow, received 18 months for money laundering following a trial.

Thomas Mead, 24, of Foxglove Avenue, Beckenham, received 12 months suspended for 18 months and 200 hours unpaid work for money laundering.

Christopher White, 30, of Ayr Green, Romford, and Muhammed Bah, 29, of Eastbourne Road, East Ham, received 10 month suspended sentenced and 200 hours unpaid work for money laundering.

Amy Palmer, 27, of Windsor Drive, Orpington, received a 12-month community order for money laundering.