Former IFA Philip Boakes has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for defrauding at least 30 investors of about £3.5m following an FCA prosecution.
The sentence is the longest imposed as a result of any FCA or FSA prosecution.
Between October 2002 and January 2013 clients lost £2.5m of the £3.5m invested. Boakes spent £1.3m on his lifestyle, including £175,000 on cars and over £200,000 on foreign holidays.
Boakes had been been an IFA but continued to tell investors he was regulated when he was not.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulent trading, three counts of using a forged instrument and, previously admitted accepting deposits without authorisation.
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.
Judge Lorraine-Smith called the scam a “classic Ponzi scheme”.
She says: “This was a classic Ponzi scheme over a number of years with a large number of victims. Lives have been changed and life savings have been lost. Boakes and his family lived a lavish lifestyle that he could not begin to afford but for his fraudulent activities.”