Former Towergate adviser jailed for £150k fraud

A former Towergate adviser who conned a grandmother out of her £150,000 retirement funds to pay for his gambling addiction was yesterday jailed for over two years, the BBC reports.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that Ryan Burnside pretended to invest Margaret Gallivan’s life savings overseas when he was actually spending it at casinos.

Burnside was convicted of obtaining money by fraud and told by a sheriff he had carried out a “gross breach of trust”, sentencing him to two years and four months in prison.

Burnside told Margaret Gallivan he had large amounts of land and expensive cars. He was sacked from his post as an adviser with Albannach, now part of Towergate Financial, in 2008 but told Gallivan, that the FSA had said he could work as an adviser again.

He was caught when Gallivan’s son found out he should not be working as an adviser. His solicitor told the court Burnside had enjoyed a lavish lifestyle from his work until gambling problems took their toll in 2005, culminating in debts of over £40,000.

On sentencing Burnside, Sheriff William Gilchrist said: ‘I take into account the significant amount embezzled, and also the effect on the victim, as she was effectively defrauded of all her savings.”