Ex-Burns Anderson IFA jailed for 10 years for £12m fraud

Former Burns Anderson IFA Grahame Whitehead has been sentenced to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to defrauding investors out of almost £12m.

Whitehead has already served 355 days of this sentence, having been remanded in custody since he was charged.

Earlier today, Whitehead pleaded guilty to 49 counts of fraud and obtaining money by deception when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court. In total, investors put £11.95m into what the prosecution described as a pyramid fraud scheme.

Between 2004 until his arrest in early 2009, Whitehead duped 46 victims into two fake schemes. Clients thought their money was being investing in high interest bearing loans with Credit Suisse or short-term bridging loans for the Salvation Army.

Whitehead operated his pyramid scheme through two companies, Woodbridge Financial Services Limited and Woodbridge FS. The first was put into liquidation in 2007 and he then launched the second firm.

Two of the victims of Whitehead’s scam suffer from multiple sclerosis and one couple was advised to mortgage their house and invest the lump sum realised with Whitehead.

The money was in fact being paid into Whitehead’s own bank account or the bank account of a family member which was being used for his own interest.

To ensure the 46 victims kept their money with Whitehead, he provided interest statements bearing the Credit Suisse logo.

Despite Credit Suisse contacting Whitehead in 2008 to demand he cease using the Credit Suisse name, he continued using the brand.

In total, the fraud brought in £11.95m, but the court heard that Whitehead paid out £4.7m in interest to the duped investors, resulting in a £7.2m loss to investors.

Sentencing Whitehead, judge Christopher ball said: “You were greatly trusted by all of those investors. They were grievously misled by you and your plausible schemes.

“They were investors misled by your bare-faced lies.”

One victim, who invested her entire pension with Whitehead, said: “I have known him for 20 years and trusted him, we all did. It is a total abuse of our trust. I just hope I can get some of my money back, but I am not holding my breath.”

The smallest loss suffered by an investor was £7,000 and the largest loss was £2.5m on a £5m investment.


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There are 19 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 15th April 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Where were the FSA then? nowhere to be seen even though one of their remits is to deal/stop fraud. Useless………………………………….

  2. Anderson IFA jailed for 10 years for £12m fraud


  3. What about the FSA’s fraudulent extortion of many times that sum from the IFA sector?

  4. A great shame for the clients but a common story amongst the so called ‘whiter than white’ IFA brigade, I am sure we will see the same cliched tripe spurted out about not being tarred with the same brush, every barrel etc, only the minority have been caught so far, nice to see a serious sentence being given though.

  5. … just waiting for the ‘IFA-hating brigade’ to chip in with their ‘another crooked IFA, they’re all the same’ line … …

    Good comment, IRAT – where is Margaret Cole’s usual ‘missive’ … … ??

  6. Its shocking how he even had the nerve to try it and think he would get away with it!

    How can these people (so called ‘advisers’)sleep at night knowing they have lost peoples life savings after years of trust?

    Burns Anderson should also be prosecuted for lax compliance failings.

    Hopefully time in the clink will be used for reflection (out in 3-5 yrs I understand these days?).

    Disgusting, gives us honest ones a bad name.

  7. Baron Bolligrew 15th April 2010 at 5:41 pm

    And what difference would qualifications have made for this person and his victims?
    Would his victims have been duped by a better qualified swindler?

  8. Andersen – Anderson
    Enron – “done a run”
    Big names – all the same.

  9. Gamo Dongolondous 15th April 2010 at 7:15 pm

    About time a serious sentence was dished out.!!! Fraud is fraud and committed by unscrupulous whatever!!! IFA’s Accountants Solicitors Bankers whatever, they’re out there and preying on goodwill and integrity that is created by others. Let’s hope the people who lost get their money back!!!!!

  10. Gamo Dongolondous 15th April 2010 at 10:08 pm

    About time a serious sentence was dished out.!!! Fraud is fraud and committed by unscrupulous whatever!!! IFA’s Accountants Solicitors Bankers whatever, they’re out there and preying on goodwill and integrity that is created by others. Let’s hope the people who lost get their money back!!!!!

  11. Anderson IFA jailed for 10 years for £12m fraud


  12. … a common story amongst the so called ‘whiter than white’ IFA brigade ….. not being tarred with the same brush, every barrel etc… Interesting comment from a writer who hides behind ‘Anonymous’. You suggest that only the minority have been caught so far, so obviously you have evidence that you should be forwarding to the authorities – or are you just talking out of your rear end?

  13. So he gets 10 years, so will serve 5 and has already served 1 so will be out in 4.

    Not bad……4 years inside to ‘earn’ £8m!!

    The important people who are always forgotten in this are the victims.

    The Principal is liable for failing to supervise though in this case according to to the register Burns Anderson were the Principal. If they still exist then the victims have virtually a prima facie case against them.

    However they will have to sue which will take years and a lot of money because the FSA wont step in and get their money for them.

    If they dont exist then its off to the FSCS.

    Doubtless the CPS are pursuing a confiscation order against him but that again will take years and he will have hidden the money beyond the ability of the Asset Recovery Team to find.

    I dont think Ms Cole will comment at all – they only like posting things that make the FSA look good and this – unless they obatin redress for the victims – once again makes them look very bad…….

  14. There is point that seems to be missing here. I have had the dubious pleasure of working with some pretty big crooks in my time. I can assure you that they are pretty clever people and they demonstrate how useless regulation is at catching them out. In the meantime the vast majority of honest people have to go through so many loops just to invest a small amount in a cash ISA!

  15. Paul Veitch IFA 16th April 2010 at 2:32 pm

    What !!! no big pension payoff. Opps that’s right he dosn,t work for a bank. Your name has to be Goodwin for that to happen.

  16. Jeremy Newbegin 16th April 2010 at 6:09 pm

    What a surprise that derogatory remarks come anonymously. No back bone. So easy to tar all IFA’s with the same brush. Lets remember that every professions (yes profession) has bad eggs. RDR will not change this happening time and time again.

  17. In my day I would swindle that much before breakfast.

  18. Seems to have hit a nerve, once again the point is being missed, there is little point in trying to protect a reputation of an industry that is already tarnished and will continue to be so as more and more crooks come out of the woodwork, I agree most definately that all industries in the financial sector have similiar issues and that there are many good practioners within the IFA sector, however until the industry makes a serious effort to regulate itself rather than calling foul of a toothless regulator at every available opportunity then this conversation topic is pointless. Of paramount importance must be the clients and that they are treated with care and respect, sadly although many practitioners operate within these boundaries there are also many that do not, this may sound harsh but until the industry wakes up fully to this problem and generates change from within their appears to be little light at the end of the tunnel.

  19. I have just been notified that Burns-Anderson has gone into liquidation.
    As I am an investor can you please confirm this news.

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