Reality TV stars such as Lauren Goodger and Scott Timlin face two years in prison for investment promotions

Reality TV personalities such as ‘The Only Way is Essex’ star Lauren Goodger (top left), Geordie Shore's Scott Timlin (top right) and ‘Love Island’s’ Biggs Chris and Eva Zapico (bottom) have been charged for their investment plugs. Photos by Getty (top left and bottom right) and Instagram (top right and bottom left).Reality TV personalities such as ‘The Only Way is Essex’ star Lauren Goodger (top left), Geordie Shore's Scott Timlin (top right) and ‘Love Island’s’ Biggs Chris and Eva Zapico (bottom) have been charged for their investment plugs. Photos by Getty (top left and bottom right) and Instagram (top right and bottom left).
Reality TV personalities such as ‘The Only Way is Essex’ star Lauren Goodger (top left), Geordie Shore's Scott Timlin (top right) and ‘Love Island’s’ Biggs Chris and Eva Zapico (bottom) have been charged for their investment plugs. Photos by Getty (top left and bottom right) and Instagram (top right and bottom left). | Photos by Getty (top left and bottom right) and Instagram (top right and bottom left).
Reality TV personalities such as ‘The Only Way is Essex’ star Lauren Goodger and ‘Love Island’s’ Biggs Chris, Jamie Clayton, Rebecca Gormley and Eva Zapico face two years in prison for investment plugs.

Reality TV personalities including stars of ‘Love Island’ and ‘The Only Way is Essex’ (TOWIE) are facing up to two years in prison for promoting unauthorised investments.

Lauren Goodger, who rose to fame on ‘The Only Way is Essex’, and Biggs Chris, who is known for appearing on ‘Love Island’, have been charged by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in relation to promotions of unauthorised investments.

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The FCA had previously warned it would crack down on so-called "finfluencers" if it considered posts were misleading. If convicted, they could face up to two years imprisonment.

It is the first prosecution brought by the FCA against influencers regarding alleged financial promotion breaches. Love Islanders Jamie Clayton, Rebecca Gormley and Eva Zapico, TOWIE’s Yazmin Oukhellou, and Geordie Shore’s Scott Timlin were also among those charged.

The FCA has alleged that Emmanuel Nwanze, aged 30, and Holly Thompson, age 33, ran an Instagram account under the handle @holly_fxtrends. The watchdog said it gave advice on buying and selling investments called contracts for difference, but without the required authorisation from the regulator to do so. The account has now been taken down.

The FCA said that contracts for difference were high-risk investments used to bet on the price of an asset, in this case foreign currencies. It said 80% of customers lost money when investing in CFDs because of the risks.

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Nwanze allegedly ran the foreign exchange trading scheme and issued unauthorised financial promotions. The watchdog claims that he paid social media influencers to promote @holly_fxtrends to their Instagram followers.

Nwanze, Thompson and the influencers they paid have all been charged with unauthorised communications of financial promotions. Nwanze also faces one count of breaching a so-called general prohibition under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, which prohibits people from carrying out regulated activities in the UK unless they are authorised to do so.