A financial adviser who admitted stealing almost £1m from his clients has been jailed for four years and eight months.
The Eastbourne Herald reports John Field of Meads Financial Consultants was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court last week. He has been banned from setting up a company for eight years.
He pleaded guilty to a string of charges which involved taking £988,161 from 37 clients between 2004 and 2013.
The court heard how the firm encountered financial difficulties in 2005 and Field had persuaded clients, many of whom were his friends, to invest in a fake investment he called ‘Sesame’.
One woman lost £118,500, with many others losing tens of thousands of pounds.
Prosecutor Stephen Shay said many of the victims were coming up to retirement and invested their life savings.
Defending, Phillip Wakefield said Field used the cash to bail out his company, which had lost clients and revenue when two employees left the firm in 2005.
Shay agreed there was no evidence to suggest he had lived an “exuberant lifestyle”.
The company has since been liquidated.
Recorder Anthony Chinn said: “I find it incredible this money has disappeared in the way you say it has, to keep your small business afloat.
“Perhaps your business needed the cash but these people could not afford to lose these sums of money.
“You should have wound the business up, that should have been obvious to a financial adviser. You treated them with total disrespect.”