A former director of an investment firm, Imperial Consolidated Group, which managed over £250m of investors’ funds has been jailed for three and a half years for his part in a global fraud.
William Godley, who admitted his involvement was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court today.
At one stage during the fraud Godley was paying himself up to £61,000 per month net of tax to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Godley, together with three other company executives, was charged in 2006 with a single count of conspiracy to defraud in an internationally promoted scheme thatattracted over £250m from approximately 3,000 investors.
Investors believed that their money would be used to finance a commercial loans business from which they would gain interest, however much of their money was used to fund the company’s own overheads. Investors were also told they were investing in profitable companies when in fact they were loss-making and in other instances investors’ money was used to buy into speculative mining interests which they knew nothing about. Investors’ were also given assurances that their capital was protected when this was not the case.
The fraud operated from premises on a former RAF station at Binbrook in Lincolnshire and the investigation was conducted with Lincolnshire Police.
An employee of the firm described how Godley entertained staff at casinos and even at an underwater restaurant.
Further evidence was given that Godley took his whole family and various members of the Bahamas office and some clients out to the most expensive restaurant in the Bahamas using the company’s credit card.
But when challenged about his spending Godley told a member of staff: “Don’t worry, I can put my hand in the till and take what I want”.
Godley pleaded guilty ahead of trial and sentencing was adjourned until the conclusion of proceedings against all defendants.
During the course of the first trial in 2008 and a retrial in 2010 the three other defendants were acquitted.
Godley has been disqualified from acting as a company director for six years.
Confiscation and compensation proceedings have been adjourned.
Sentencing Godley, Mrs Justice Gloster said: “On any basis this is a very serious fraud in which substantial sums of money have been lost by investors, many of
whom have suffered considerable hardship.”