A former adviser has been jailed for two years after duping clients out of almost £200,000.
Geoffrey Fincher, the former sole director of Cheshire-based investment advice firm SK8, was sentenced at Chester Crown Court yesterday.
Last month, Money Marketing revealed Fincher had pleaded guilty to 22 offences relating to theft and fraud.
In a supervisory notice published in December, the FCA removed SK8’s permission to advise on and arrange deals in investments.
The FCA found that Fincher accepted money from customers for investment despite neither him nor the firm having permission to hold or control client money, and failed to invest the money as agreed or at all.
Cheshire Police says there were 10 victims, nine of which Fincher was convicted against. All but two victims have been reimbursed.
Cheshire Police economic crime unit DC Jackie Nolan says: “We discovered that Fincher had been abusing his trust and pretending to put money into investments, but in some cases had been keeping the money himself, which he had no authority to do.
“Fincher was a family friend and a longstanding friend at that, knowing most of his victims for decades. He abused their trust to gain access to their life savings.”
Senior crown prosecutor Gary Simpson adds: “Fincher cheated long standing and trusting clients out of thousands of pounds over several years.
“When his clients asked about their investments, he produced false documents to back up his criminality or offered to pay some of the money back.
“Many of his clients were elderly and some were friends but he callously took their money and used it for his own ends.”
Speaking in the victim′s impact statement, the daughter of one elderly couple said: “Geoffrey Fincher had slowly wheedled his way into their life over the last 30 years becoming a friend and somebody they trusted implicitly to take care of their financial affairs.
“My mother is full of disbelief, aghast at his nerve, outraged and incensed as to how somebody could so easily dupe them − so terribly upset and so embarrassed as to her own stupidity, as she sees it. A very sad situation at her time in life when she had done her best to save for her children and her future.”