Saturday, 20 July 2013

European Football Growth Fund

Following in the footsteps of the now infamous Elliot Short comes a similar tale of woe featuring a fraudster by the name of  Darren Thompson from Whitstable in Kent. He took £50k from his Mum, and £300k from his wife's family. One 'investor' alone lost 600k and 138 people in all were conned by the European Football Growth Fund.
The Daily Mail (they like this stuff) has the full story here. No mention on how his marriage is going.
A conman who convinced 138 people - including his own mother - to part with with a total of £6million in a football syndicate scam has been jailed.

Darren Thompson, 40, earned a six-figure salary as a chartered accountant in major city banks before setting up the 'guaranteed' syndicate, which saw him persuade his own and his wife's relatives, friends and co-workers to plough in hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Thompson, who even produced a glossy brochure of fake information that promised 'big returns', was jailed for four years and eight months at Canterbury Crown Court after admitting fraud by false representation.

Thompson's mother gave him £50,000 to put into the syndicate, while his wife Nina-Louise's family lost £300,000.
The former City worker earned £150,000 a year at banks including Barclays and Credit Suisse before establishing the European Football Growth Fund in 2004, the court heard.
Prosecutor Stuart Biggs told the court Thompson first started betting on Betfair in 2004 and thought he could 'play the system' to make big profits, but that as soon as the syndicate was set up he started losing heavily.
Martin Taylor, defending, said Thompson had no previous convictions and simply got carried away, believing he could claw back money with even bigger bets.

Mr Taylor told the court: 'He believed that these figures were predictable and it was not gambling.
'He had a system and did not consider himself to be a gambler as it was very much a situation where the risk was spread.'
Judge Heather Norton, jailing Thomspon for four years and eight months, told him: 'No doubt your investors were reassured by your background in football and investment and no doubt too by the glossy brochures which you provided.
'Unfortunately, indeed tragically as far as your investors were concerned, by the start of 2007 you could have been in no doubt at all that this scheme wasn't working.'
Thompson convinced ‘high roller’ colleagues in the City to part with anything from £30,000 to as much as £600,000 to join his ‘guaranteed’ football betting syndicate.

Thompson used dodgy bank statements which indicated the syndicate was making huge returns to help convince people to invest.

But he was actually ‘useless’ at betting, losing between 73 and 91 per cent of all bets staked over a six year period between 2004-2010.

The court heard how Thompson had deposited £4.1million into various betting accounts between April 2004 and October 2010.

He lost £3million of that money and withdrew just over £1million. The remaining £2million he held back from the accounts, he spent, the court heard.
Despite his heavy losses, Thompson still managed to live a lavish lifestyle, paying for a Las Vegas wedding to wife Nina-Louise and trips to South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
He also accumulated a fleet of luxury cars including a Mercedes, a Jaguar, a Porsche and a 4x4.
Some of his victims were forced to remortgage their homes to pay for the ‘investment’, but were left with nothing after Thompson was snared.

One ‘investor’ lost a massive £600,000, but the average loss was around £40,000 among more than 100 people - most of them friends he met while working in London - duped by Thompson.

Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit at Kent Police confirmed the unit had identified 138 victims of the betting scam.

They said Thompson ‘paid out’ to several investors in 2007, but only so they would invest more and to give the impression ‘the betting syndicate was doing well’.

Thompson pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at Canterbury Crown Court and was jailed for four years and eight months yesterday.

Detective Constable Stuart Champion said today: 'Thompson abused the trust placed in him by some of his closest friends and investors.

'He provided them with fake data and drew up complex documents such as a declaration of trust to win them over and convince them to put their money in.

'Some of their money was invested into bets but they were never successful as Thompson never made a profit during the time he ran the syndicate.

'The rest of the money was spent by Thompson on holidays, his wedding and expensive cars while some of his investors struggled to make ends meet as a result.
'This sentence brings to a close a very complex case and I’d like thank those who came forward and the evidence we found was so compelling that Thompson had no choice but to admit the fraud.'

1 comment:

Baz said...

Greed can turn intelligent people into gullible mugs.