The Financial Conduct Authority has handed a lifetime ban preventing a former financial adviser from conducting any regulated activities over his conviction earlier this year for six counts of fraud.
Michael Bains, of Hamilton Drive East, North Yorkshire, defrauded customers out of a total of £160,500 between April 2009 and March 2012, during which time he was authorised by the regulator to perform the CF30 customer function.
The FCA register lists one Michael Bains holding that controlled function during the period in question. He was listed as being an appointed representative of Bright Future IFA Ltd until June 2012 and held the CF30 function in relation to City House Investors Ltd, Investors Ltd and Financial Ltd.
Bright Future IFA Ltd suspended Mr Bains as soon as the firm was alerted to the fraud in 2012.
In July 2013, Mr Bains pleaded guilty at Yorkshire Crown Court to six counts of fraud and in August was sentenced to a total of 18 months imprisonment.
According to North Yorkshire Police, Mr Bains had run up substantial gambling debts of over £100,000 over a “considerable period of time”. He is said to have borrowed sums from friends and family before raising money from clients by persuading them to invest in private deals for non-existent property development and investment schemes.
The police said that Mr Bains had used the money to fund repayments to other investors as well as his gambling habit and expenditure on female escorts he had met via internet sites.
When confronted with the evidence, Mr Bains admitted he had lost over £100,000 through gambling. Further enquiries showed that he had visited different escorts on at least 49 occasions, spending around £150 on each visit, the police said.
According to North Yorkshire police, Mr Bains’ victims lost between £100,000 and £15,000, including a 58-year-old woman from Hertfordshire who lost her life savings of £100,000 which she intended to use to buy the rented property she was living in.
Detective Sergeant Edwards from the financial investigation unit, said: “Bains has used his position to convince people who trusted him to invest their life savings wisely. He has cynically used their hard earned cash to indulge his obsession for gambling and escorts - there was no investment scheme - only other victims to repay.
“He has now declared himself bankrupt so there is little chance that the victims of the fraud will receive any compensation.
“I would advise anyone who is offered returns above the market rate to consider very carefully before investing, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”