10-year jail term upheld for ex-adviser behind ‘giant Ponzi scheme’

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The Court of Appeal has upheld a 10-year prison sentence against a former adviser who defrauded investors of £3.5m.

Phillip Boakes appealed his sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of using a forged instrument, two counts of fraudulent trading and one count of accepting deposits without authorisation.

Boakes had been an IFA but continued to tell investors he was regulated when he was not.

Using a company called CurrencyTrader, he promised investors guaranteed annual returns of 20 per cent through foreign exchange spread betting. But Boakes was not authorised and paid returns out of deposits from new investors.

He used the money to fund an extravagant lifestyle, with £175,218 spent on cars and £213,659 on foreign holidays. This included a 22-night stay a luxury resort in the Bahamas.

The 10-year sentence, handed down in March, was the longest imposed as a result of any FCA or FSA prosecution.

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Jackson said Boakes had led a “giant Ponzi scheme” with a number of vulnerable victims who had suffered “life changing loss”.

He added the prison term was “not a day too long”.

Boakes will also have to pay £165,731 through a confiscation order. If this is not paid on time, he is liable to spend a further two years in jail.

He has also been banned from carrying out regulated activity.

FCA director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward says: “Boakes’ crimes involved serious dishonesty and caused real harm to many innocent investors who are entitled to feel vindicated by the decision of the Court of Appeal and the confiscation of his assets which can be used to compensate his victims.”