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Cheshire-based adviser jailed for £200k fraud

A 72 year old financial adviser from Cheshire has been sentenced to two years in prison for fraud, after pleading guilty to 22 charges, including fraud, theft, obtaining money transfers by deception and making or supplying articles for the purpose of fraud.

Chester Crown Court heard that Geoffrey Fincher, who worked for Cheadle-based SK8 Financial Services, pretended to invest thousands of pounds on behalf of his clients but in fact pocketed the money.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service Mersey-Cheshire, Mr Fincher paid back small sums when clients queried what had happened to their money and produced false documents to show where it had been invested.

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One client sought advice from another financial adviser, who became suspicious about Mr Fincher’s documentation and made further inquiries, with the firms named having no record of the supposed investments.

Mr Fincher asked his client to sign a non-disclosure agreement in return for repayment of some of the money, but she refused. It emerged that her parents had given him more than £75,000 over 14 years, but Mr Fincher had no written record of where the money had gone. According to reports, the total sum stolen was nearly £200,000.

The Financial Conduct Authority suspended him and his company last December and a police investigation began.

Gary Simpson, senior crown prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said that Mr Fincher “cheated long-standing and trusting clients out of thousands of pounds over several years”.

He said: “When his clients asked about their investments, he produced false documents to back up his criminality or offered to pay some of the money back. Many of his clients were elderly and some were friends but he callously took their money and used it for his own ends.

“It would appear that earlier in his career Fincher was law abiding. We may never know what made him turn to crime and ruin his name but his reputation is now in shreds and he has only himself to blame.”

peter.walker@ft.com