Thursday, 30 May 2013

Elliott Short Of A Few Years Of Freedom

The trial of the infamous Elliott Short has reached it's conclusion after five weeks, with the 'Betfair King' being found guilty on nine counts of fraud and one of 'making or supplying an article for use in fraud' - the 2009 News of the World article. Although the five year sentence was based on the sum of £400,000, it appears to have been the case that several other defrauded 'investors' declined to come forward for various reasons, and that the true amount was closer to £1 million. The Daily Mail has the details of the trial:

A greedy gambler who boasted that he was the ‘King of Betfair’ after convincing family friends to sink £400,000 into his bogus betting system was today jailed for five years.
Elliott Short, 26, of Chester, Cheshire, lived a fabulous lifestyle - splashing out on a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, staying in plush hotels and being a regular at exclusive London nightclubs.
Short went on holidays around the globe, spent thousands of pounds on designer clothes from Ralph Lauren and Christian Louboutin in Harrods in Knightsbridge and went to Eclipse nightclub in Chelsea, south-west London.
He even managed to dupe the News of the World into running a story about his apparent success, convincing the now-defunct newspaper that he was a former City trader who netted more than £21million from his betting system.

Short had an impressive office in Knightsbridge and dazzled potential investors with his boasts of huge returns, insisting on paying for expensive items to show off his supposed wealth. One investor was told he would get monthly dividends of £70,000, but they never materialised.

He claimed he could make ‘extremely high returns’ using a system on gambling website Betfair, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.
But the system had never worked and the tabloid was forced to print a retraction after Betfair said the returns Short had quoted were impossible.
A jury convicted him of nine counts of fraud and one count of making or supplying an article for use in fraud, after a five-week trial.
Victims James Crawford - who met Short via his mother and step-father, Rosemary and Tom King - and Christopher Antoniou were each fleeced out of £200,000.
Short was acquitted of four further counts of fraud relating to another £200,000 from Mr Crawford, together with £20,000 invested by Melinda Barrett - a long term friend of Short’s mother.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Testar said Short ‘lied shamefully through his teeth’, adding that he was ‘potentially dangerous as far as the financial interests of others are concerned.’
The judge said: ‘The question is why did these intelligent people with the experience of the world allow themselves to be taken in by you?
‘You proved yourself to be a very accomplished confidence fraud trickster. You left a profound impression of someone who is deeply dishonest and shamefully mendacious. You deployed your charming personality to exploit that instinct in people to trust their fellow human beings.

‘Having conned others you simply poured their money away on hiring helicopters, taking expensive holidays, spending thousands in bars, nightclubs and restaurants and thousands more in shops.

‘You may not have wanted to cause harm to others and through your betting, you wanted to win. Who doesn’t? But the fact of the matter is that of the £400,000 that was paid, very little was actually spent by investing in Betfair.’
Short bowed his head as the sentence was passed, before being led out of the dock.
Prosecutor Mark Hick said he had ‘no assets and had some liabilities in relation to utility bills’.

He had been living in rented accommodation until he was convicted and remanded in custody.
Mr Hick said: ‘Despite his claims, Elliott Short did not have a successful betting scheme, and over the period of several months he lost all his investors’ money, either on his unsuccessful gambling, or on funding his lavish lifestyle.

‘Throughout this time, Mr Short continued to reassure his investors that he was making huge profits. Mr Short would celebrate his victories, dancing and chanting things such as ‘Who is the Betfair King?’
‘However, none of his investors received any money back, and it eventually became apparent that Mr Short had been lying to them all along.’
Mr Crawford was told he would receive monthly dividend payments of £70,000, but the cash never materialised. Mr Antoniou lost £200,000 given to him by his mother, Helen.
He too never saw any return on his investment and became suspicious after reading the newspaper article about the scam, although Short managed to fob him off with excuses.
‘Mr Antoniou recalls Mr Short telling him that most of his investors didn’t have a contract for months, if at all, and since he was friends with all of them he would never dream about "f***ing them",’ Mr Hick said.
Mr Antoniou told how Short would insist on paying for everything, shelling out for bills in excess of £1,000, to show off his supposed wealth. Bank statements revealed he spent more than £4,500 on a room at a Hilton hotel and almost £2,000 at Brinkley’s Wine Gallery in Chelsea.
The third victim, Melinda Barrett, a long-time friend of Short’s mother, ploughed £20,000 into the scheme, without ever receiving a penny back. Short denied the charges against him.

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