Regulation  

Ten years’ jail for high-living IFA over £3.5m Ponzi scheme

Ten years’ jail for high-living IFA over £3.5m Ponzi scheme

A former IFA has been jailed for 10 years for defrauding investors of £3.5m and using the money to pay for Italian sports cars and Caribbean holidays.

Phillip Boakes, 55, was a registered adviser until 2008 but told some clients he was still an IFA, promising guaranteed returns through his company Currency Trader Ltd.

He was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to two counts of fraudulent trading and three counts of using a forged instrument.

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The Warwickshire resident had previously admitted an offence of accepting deposits without authorisation.

He has been given the longest sentence imposed to date as a result of an FCA or FSA prosecution.

In sentencing, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: “This is a classic Ponzi fraud committed over a number of years with a large number of victims, many of whom could ill afford the enormous losses you cost them.

“Lives have been changed, life savings have been lost and much of that money went on a lavish lifestyle for you and your family which you could not begin to afford other than by fraudulently obtaining investments from friends and acquaintances.”

Boakes, of Lower Quinton, claimed to carry out foreign exchange spreadbetting for its customers.

People were encouraged to invest on the promise of guaranteed annual returns of 20 per cent or more, but Boakes was not authorised by the FCA to accept deposits and the pledge of guaranteed returns was a sham.

But his trading was disastrous and Boakes lost nearly £1m on the £2.1m he poured into the foreign exchange markets.

In reality the returns were funded from the deposit itself or from funds received from new investors.

Boakes spent around £1.3m funding his lifestyle, including £175,218 on cars – including a Maserati and the down payments on a Ferrari – and £213,659 on foreign holidays to the Bahamas and St Lucia.

The sums lost by the individuals ranged from approximately £10,000 to £700,000.

Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “Using fraud and forged documents, Boakes took in those who trusted him to invest their money.

“He promised fantastic returns but, as is so often the case with unauthorised investment schemes, those who invested ended up with significant losses.

“We will not hesitate to take the strongest action to ensure that consumers are protected and individuals are held to account for actions that undermine the integrity of the financial services industry.”

According to the FCA register between 2001 and 2002 Boakes was an investment adviser with Ashley Law Ltd and between 2007 and 2008 he was a partner in Intrinsic Financial Planning and Intrinsic Mortgage Planning.

Between 2007 and 2008 he was also an appointed representative of GBP Financial Solutions.

A spokesman for the FCA said it would not comment on why someone left the register.