Sentence Update: Former Premier League star jailed for £15 million investment fraud
A former Premier League star has been jailed today (12 January 2023) for defrauding friends, family members and associates out of £15 million.
Richard Rufus, 47, has been found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of fraud, money laundering and carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation and sentenced to seven and half years imprisonment.
The CPS prosecution and the City of London police investigation established that the ex-Charlton Athletic defender claimed he was a successful foreign exchange trader and used this to convince victims to invest in his ‘low-risk’ scheme with promises of returns of 60% a year.
The prosecution team uncovered that Rufus used some of the £15 million invested to pay back investors in a pyramid-style scheme – using funds from newer investors to pay back older ones - but used the rest to maintain a lifestyle of an elite professional footballer.
Rufus falsely claimed to have made multi-million pound returns for a church and good returns for other footballers or ex-footballers, for whom he had invested funds but who he could not identify for confidentiality reasons.
Rufus was forced into retirement in 2004 following a knee injury but continued to live in a five-bedroom house on a private estate in Purley, South London, drive a Bentley and wear a Rolex watch.
Roger Makanjuola of the CPS said: “Rufus acted in a selfish manner without any concern for his victims. He took advantage of his status as a professional athlete, a respected church member and he used the goodwill of his family and friends to scam them and associates out of millions of pounds by falsely claiming he was able to offer a low-risk investment in the Foreign Exchange Market.
“He claimed that he had been successful with his investment strategies previously, but the investments were fraught with risk and he lost his victims’ much needed money to the amount of £15million.
“While making these huge losses he put approximately £2million into his personal accounts, allegedly for the purposes of investment but this was never transferred over to his trading account.
“We now commence confiscation proceedings to seek to recover his ill-gotten gains”
The CPS prosecutes all types of fraud including investment fraud. This type of fraud occurs when fraudsters deceive victims to invest based on false information. Often, as in this case, there is little or no real investment opportunity and the whole enterprise is fraudulent.
Whatever the type of investment fraud, the CPS will work to deliver justice for victims where the evidence and public interest supports a prosecution.
How to protect yourself from Financial Investment fraud:
- Investment opportunities: Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into investing on the spot.
- Seek advice first: Before making significant financial decisions, speak with trusted friends or family members, or seek professional independent advice.
- FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money. For more information about how to invest safely, please visit: https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart
What to do if you’ve been a victim of Financial Investment fraud:
You could be targeted again: Fraudsters sometimes re-establish contact with previous victims claiming that they can help them recover lost money, this is just a secondary scam. Hang up on any callers that claim they can get your money back for you.
Identity theft: If you suspect your identity may have been stolen, you can check your credit rating quickly and easily online. You should do this every few months anyway, using a reputable service provider and follow up on any unexpected or suspicious results.
Legal advice: Seek professional legal advice or contact Citizens Advice, www.citizensadvice.org.uk to understand your options. You can also contact the Financial Conduct Authority’s, www.fca.org.uk, consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768 or report suspicious businesses or individuals by using the reporting form on their website.
Notes to editors
- Roger Makanjuola is a Specialist Crown Prosecutor in the CPS Serious Economic Organised and International Directorate (SEOCID)
- SEOCID was launched on 1 April 2022 and is the CPS’s response to the changing nature of crime by bringing together specialists in organised and economic crime
- Richard Rufus (DOB: 12/01/1975) has been found guilty of three counts of fraud and two counts of money laundering related offences at Southwark Crown Court and sentenced to seven and half years imprisonment