Peter Butcher, 49, with a current address in Bridlington but who ran Mortgage Wise in Castleford, admitted charges of creating a false instrument and theft when he appeared before Leeds Crown Court.
Sentencing him, recorder Graeme Cook said: “You are a conman of the highest standard and a thief.
“You have brought misery to a number of people and their families. What you have done is truly despicable.”
The court heard how over a 10-year period Butcher had persuaded clients to invest sums of money ranging bet-ween £1,000 and £92,000 with him.
But instead of investing the money, he created a series of false portfolios to disguise the fact he was using it to fund his own lavish lifestyle.
At one point, he invested in a tropical fish farm in Thail-and using clients’ money.
The court heard that Butcher left a suicide note in his car and took an overdose of tablets but was discovered before the tablets could take effect.
Evidence was also given by the prosecution of the dam- age that Butcher’s fraud had caused, with two former clients handing their life savings to Butcher and another investor losing their retirement home in Spain.
In mitigation for Butcher, it was said that he now realised the effect of his actions on investors and that he felt deeply ashamed.
However, speaking to the media after the case, a relative of one of the victims said: “Four years is not enough for ruining people’s lives.”