A former wealth manager who conned two friends out of £278,000 to maintain a playboy lifestyle of luxury holidays and extravagant parties has been jailed for nearly three years.
Simon Beesley, 42, convinced Suzanne Lauder and Sam Lipton to hand over their savings after ‘grooming’ them with lavish dinners and invites to the Wimbledon Tennis Champion Championships.
Beesley, who boasted of access to defence secretary Philip Hammond, promised them 20 per cent returns on their investment in a maritime patrol aircraft project.
Instead he frittered away their cash on family trips to Canada, New York and China as well as paying off his overdraft and business debts.
Beesley even used some of the money to buy his wife a 40th birthday present of a £6,000 diamond watch from Ms Lauder’s jewellery shop in London’s New Bond Street.
The Old Bailey heard Beesley started the scam after racking up large personal and business debts and was under pressure from the banks.
“He said his daughter had a rare form of cancer and that was why he wasn’t able to pay,” said prosecutor Daniel Robinson.
Ms Lauder decided to invest £100,000 in a company promoted by Mr Beesley, Extreme Global Solutions (EGS), because she trusted him, prosecutor Daniel Robinson said.
But instead of passing the money to EGS, Beesley paid it into his personal and business accounts and used it to pay off debts and buy Christmas presents.
Both victims eventually contacted the Action Fraud helpline after Beesley failed to repay their money apart from around £10,000 he got by pawning his wife’s jewellery.
He finally admitted fraud shortly before his trial was due to start last month and has since paid the remaining debt of £273,900 to his lawyers to pass on to the victims.
Judge Mark Lucraft QC sentenced him to two years and nine months imprisonment and said: “This was a calculated fraud on two acquaintances.
“You lied when challenged as to what was going on. This was a shocking abuse of friendship.”
Beesley admitted three counts of fraud by false representation and one count of supplying an article for use in fraud.
Mr Lipton said he hoped a prison sentence would “prevent him targeting other people and making their lives a misery as mine has been for the last three years.”