A Sussex gambler who conned private investors out of an estimated £1.3 million has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail.
Using a technique known as a "Ponzi" scheme, 39-year-old Nicholas Peter Ford swindled investors, including a friend with a disabled child, out of fortunes.
A Ponzi scheme involves taking money from investors to be part of a spread betting syndicate but then paying them back with the money given to him by other investors as opposed to any profit made.
It is reported that Ford started the scam after losing his investment job. Two days after launching the scheme, Ford began gambling most of the invested cash.
The victims of the scam all came from across the UK where Ford himself was based at a family address in Chichester, West Sussex. The schemer was also using a secondary address in Schubertstrasse, Zurich, Switzerland.
Surrey police Detective Sergeant Sally Smith said Ford had used his connections from his previous employer to compile a list of potential investors.
"This was what is known as a Ponzi-style fraud. In essence, Ford took in £1.3 million from private investors, and paid out just £245,000. The money paid out was just to lure investors back into making even more investments.” "The majority, if not all the money, was lost in gambling, and he actually started gambling with investments two days after the first investment was made." "He received investments from professional investors, including one lady who lost her £20,000 life savings, and also brings up her disabled child as a one-parent family. Ford was supposed to be her friend."
Ford appeared at Chichester Crown Court last week on May 1st where he pleaded guilty to fraud by false accounting between 2010 and 2011. He was then jailed for five years and four months.