Love Island and Towie stars charged and could face up to two years in jail

Lauren Goodger
Several reality stars have been charged with promoting an unauthorised foreign exchange trading scheme (Picture: Dave Benett)

The UK’s financial watchdog is clamping down after Love Island and The Only Way is Essex stars promoted an unauthorised foreign exchange trading scheme on Instagram.

Lauren Goodger and Yazmin Oukhellou of Towie fame are among those facing charges, along with Biggs Chris and Rebecca Gormley.

In total, charges have been brought against nine people from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

It comes in a bid to crack down on ‘finfluencers’, aka those issuing unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

Those currently under fire boast a combined following of 4.5million.

Under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the illegal social media promotions are punishable by a fine and up to two years in jail.

Rebecca Gormley
Rebecca Gormley appears in court next month (Picture: Instagram)

Former Love Islanders Chris, 32, and Gormley, 26, plus Jamie Clayton, 32, and Eva Zapico, 25, face one count of issuing unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

Towie stars Goodger, 37, and Oukhellou, 30, face the same charge, as does former Celebrity Big Brother winner Scott Timlin, 36.

Others caught up in the scandal include influencers Emmanuel Nwanze, 30, and Holly Thompson, 33.

Despite not being authorised to do so, they have been accused of offering advice on buying and selling high-risk investment products called contracts for difference (CFDs) over Instagram between May 2018 and April 2021.

The FCA alleges that Nwanze paid seven reality TV personalities to promote the @holly_fxtrends Instagram account to their followers.

Nwanze and Thompson have also been charged with issuing unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

Biggs Chris
Love Islander Biggs Chris is among those who could face two years in jail (Picture: Can Nguyen/Shutterstock)
Yazmin Oukhellou
Yazmin Oukhellou is one of nine people with charges against them (Picture: Instagram)

They allegedly offered advice on trading high-risk foreign currency derivatives over Instagram between May 2018 and April 2021.

Additionally, Nwanze has been charged with running an unauthorised investment scheme.

He faces a fine and up to two years in jail for each offence if convicted.

Anyone who believes they have sustained a loss due to the scheme should contact the FCA’s consumer contact centre on 0800 111 6768.

All nine accused will appear before Westminster Magistrates Court on June 13.

Speaking to Money Week, Laura Suter, director of personal finance at AJ Bell, offered insight into what this all means.

‘Too many people blindly trust anything they see on social media, but throw in a well-known celeb or a reality TV star endorsing a product and people are even more likely to trust a post,’ she said.

‘This isn’t a huge problem if you buy some dodgy beauty products or sign up to a duff subscription, but if you put your life savings into an investment because someone from the TV said they made impressive returns, that could be life-changing.’

Lauren Goodger
Lauren Goodger boasts 953,000 followers on Instagram (Picture: Instagram)

Suter has implored the FCA to ramp up its campaign to keep so-called finfluencers in line amid a rise in social media scams.

‘This high-profile case no doubt intended to send a message to other influencers.’

Got a story?

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us celebtips@metro.co.uk, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.


MORE : Giovanni Pernice’s past clashes with Strictly partners as he ‘quits’ BBC show


MORE : Sharon Stone and Liam Neeson hit with huge backlash over Kevin Spacey praise

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.