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Norfolk IFA jailed after £1m thefts for racehorse business

A Norfolk IFA has been jailed for six years for stealing £1m from clients to fund a business buying and selling racehorses.

Matt Pearce, 41, of Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, admitted a series of deception charges when he appeared before Norwich Crown Court.

The court heard that Pearce stole life savings belonging mainly to retired people putting the cash into a business he had set up buying and selling racehorses.

One victim who received a £100,000 payout for a head injury passed all his money to Pearce to invest and was later forced to declare him- self bankrupt.

Pearce persuaded the investors to give him cheques, in some cases blank, which he said he would place in high-income bonds, but which he used for his horse business.

Judge Peter Jacobs told Pearce: “Acting as an independent financial adviser you enjoyed the trust of a number of long-standing clients and it’s quite plain to me that though your business may not have been set up initially as a vehicle for fraud it rapidly became nothing other than a vehicle for fraud.

“The public must have confidence in the financial services industry. All this money was spent indulging yourself in what seems to be a mere fantasy. It was money that was being dispensed down a bottomless pit.”

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