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.