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Uncle and nephew jailed for bogus betting scheme

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A pair of family fraudsters have been jailed today (23rd June) for tricking victims out of just under £5 million of personal and life savings in a supposed ‘spread betting’ investment scheme.

Simon Reynolds was sentenced to six years' imprisonment while Ian Reynolds was sentenced to three and half years' jail time.

Between 2008-2012, Simon Reynolds set up two companies - Percentage Profits and Sporting Profits - employing his nephew Ian Reynolds to help him. The pair posed as expert investors to family members and friends to attract large sums of personal and life savings into their fraudulent scheme, promising high returns on low risk investments.

Between 2008-2012 just under £5 million was invested by at least 145 investors. The sheer number of investors led to a large and complex investigation by Sussex Police into the financial arrangements of the pair, including the attempts they made to hide their fraudulent activity. The pair sent their victims monthly personalised updates - falsely claiming large mark ups on their investments. A total sum of £1,598,650.77 was repaid to some of the investors, but the remainder of the money was gambled away by both Reynolds and used to fund their own living expenses.  Many victims lost pensions, inheritances and life savings.

Louise Whitehead of the CPS said: “This was a particularly complex fraud operation, where victims lost their life savings on so-called low risk investments.”

“The pair created a false image of themselves as trusted expert investors and created the illusion that their investment scheme was fail-safe.  

“They used the personal trust the victims had in them to steal millions of pounds from their family and friends, deceiving them into believing their investments were making significant returns, thereby encouraging further investments.  The investments, however, were not protected in the way they were promised, and the money was largely gambled away.

“After a complex investigation and prosecution by both Sussex Police and the Specialist Fraud Division of the CPS, the extent of the investment fraud committed by both defendants has been uncovered and some justice has now been obtained for the many victims.”

Simon Reynolds pleaded guilty at the Lewes Crown Court on two counts of fraud with the intention of causing loss to victims. Ian Reynolds was found guilty of one count of fraud following a trial.

The CPS is committed to working alongside the government and law enforcement to provide a multi-agency response to combat investment fraud.

Its Specialist Fraud Prosecutors work to seek justice in a variety of cases including those that cause the greatest harm to the public especially vulnerable victims.

Detective Constable Jon Moore of Sussex Police said: “The scheme was set up by Simon Reynolds who claimed to have a tried and tested system to make money on the betting exchanges which could provide an income of 2% per month on any money invested. The sales pitch claimed that only 1% of the investment would be at risk. Monthly updates were sent to all investors indicating how much their investment had been increased by when all the time the scheme was losing money from the outset.

"Simon Reynolds set up the business and employed Ian as the ‘bookkeeper' - although Ian also received investors’ money and encouraged people to invest when they both knew the scheme had failed.”

Notes to editors

  • Louise Whitehead is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for the CPS Specialist Fraud Division.
  • The Specialist Fraud Division is a dedicated CPS team playing a leading role in the fight against serious and complex economic crime and the financial exploitation of the public, using specialist legal expertise to deliver justice.
  • The CPS Economic Crime Strategy is available on our website.
  • The decision to charge was made in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

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