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Algorithm adviser in switch to guilty plea

A financial adviser faces a lengthy jail term after changing his plea to admit breaches of the Financial Services Act during a hearing before the High Court in Glasgow.

Raymond Coia, 42, from Ayrshire, had initially denied a series of charges against him – that he had defrauded more than 300 investors out of more than £13m, had undertaken unauthorised investment business, and had published private newsletters giving a false impression of the business.

But as the long-running trial entered its 64th day of evidence, Coia admitted the charges of unauthorised investment business and publishing false information. The prosecution then accepted his plea of not guilty to the fraud charges.

Coia who will be sentenced next month, faces a maximum of nine years in jail.

The court had heard that Coia told investors he had produced an algorithm to predict movements in foreign exchange markets. The court had heard evidence from investors who, between 1996 and 2001, had put money into Coia’s businesses but saw no returns.

Several high-profile personalities, including former Celtic football star Tommy Boyd, told the court they considered they had been conned by Coia.

The prosecution said investors put £13.2m into the firms but only £860,000 had been invested and the firm had made losses of £96,000.

Some investors got most of their money back but others only got 36p in the pound following the sale of Coia’s assets, including cars and houses.

The case came to light after the FSA moved in to investigate following a complaint from an investor.

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