POLICE are urging families who may have been affected by a foreign investment scheme to contact them.

Detectives believe millions was invested in the scheme which promised lucrative returns.

In 2009 it was revealed how a scheme had collapsed leaving investors across the UK and Lancashire deep in debt.

Some said they had taken out mortgages or re-mortgaged homes to be part of the scheme, whilst others said they had invested life-savings. Now, police have taken the step of naming an individual and company in connection with the scheme. They want to speak to investors before deciding whether there are grounds to launch a criminal investigation. No-one has been arrested or charged.

Detective Inspector Andy Ellis from the Economic Crime unit at Lancashire Constabulary said: “We want to hear from anyone who invested with Ilyas Ahmed and the Property Network/Profile Group.

“Since around 2006 the above male has received many millions of pounds from several hundred persons – many of whom were members of the Asian community of the UK.

“This money was taken on the promise of guaranteed returns.”

Police say they have decided they must now consider their options in relation to progressing the matter by launching Operation ‘Pivot’.

He added: “In order for us to make a calculated and informed decision as to the viability of any potential criminal investigation, a number of separate phases need to be worked through.

“The first phase we must address is to establish the size of the problem in terms of numbers of victims, their locations within the UK and elsewhere, and their stated financial losses.

“It is imperative that this first phase is completed as quickly as possible and to that end I would ask that those who have invested via Ilyas Ahmed make contact regarding the details requested as soon as possible.”

In 2009 it was reported that initially returns were forthcoming and cheques were handed out. These encouraged people to invest more or introduce others to the scheme. Based on the reputation of the agents the investors soon became agents themselves.

Police are investigating concerns from investors who fear that their money might have disappeared into a pyramid scheme.

l Police now have a dedicated contact number – 01772 412277, and a dedicated email address which is found at op-pivot@lancashire.pnn.police.uk for people to ring.

For anyone wishing to pass postal information, letters/mail can be addressed to: Lancashire Constabulary, Operation PIVOT, PO Box 77, Hutton, Preston, Lancashire PR4 5SB.