Three jailed over £10m Ponzi scheme fraud
The scheme raked in about £10m, around half of which was siphoned off, according to the Serious Fraud Office.
Two men and a woman were sentenced today for a total of up to nine years imprisonment each for their roles in a £10m Ponzi scheme targeting UK investors and ex-pats in Majorca, according to the Serious Fraud Office.
John Hirst of West Yorkshire was sentenced to nine years imprisonment, Richard Pollett of Dorset was sentenced to six and a half years and Linda Hirst of Surrey was imprisoned for two and a half years.
This follows their conviction at Bradford Crown Court on 13 August.
Mr Hirst and Mr Pollett set up the scheme and between 2001 and 2009 they traded as Gilher Incorporated, which promised investors growth from investments in the US stock market. Instead the money was used to fund a lavish lifestyle, the SFO said.
Ms Hirst helped by laundering money. Two other defendants, Daniel Hirst and Zoe Waite, were acquitted of related money laundering charges.
The scheme raked in about £10m, around half of which was siphoned off, the SFO added.
Following a complaint by an investor, SFO launched an investigation in November 2009, working with the police forces of West Yorkshire and Surrey. The defendants were charged between March and July 2011, with Mr Pollett having to be extradited from Spain.
Mr Hirst pleaded guilty before the trial to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and two counts of money laundering. Mr Pollett was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud.
Ms Hirst was found guilty of three counts of money laundering and one count of evading a liability by deception.
Confiscation and compensation proceedings are to follow the sentencing, the SFO said.