Firm in default after adviser jailed for £1.6mn Ponzi scheme

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Firm in default after adviser jailed for £1.6mn Ponzi scheme
BySally Hickey

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has declared an advice firm in default, months after one of its directors was jailed for fraud.

A+ Financial Services Limited, which traded as Grosvenor Trust & Saving and A-plus has ten claims lodged against it with the FSCS, the lifeboat body said today (December 14).

One of the firm’s directors, Stephen Grail, was jailed for five years in February for fraud, with Hertfordshire Police saying he used his position to target victims and channel their money into his own bank accounts.

He was convicted of stealing around £1.65mn between January 1997 and September 2018, and was found guilty of theft, obtaining property by deception and fraud by abuse of position.

At the time of Grail’s conviction, on February 11 this year, investigator Alan Mordey, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said for nearly 20 years Grail operated a Ponzi scheme, taking money from his victims and claiming that he was investing it in pensions and loans for them, whilst using their money to pay bogus “interest” payments to other victims. 

“The stolen money was used to fund his lifestyle and prop up his failing business,” Mordey said. 

“He provided his victims with fake documentation showing that their investments had risen, or to support his claim that loans had been made. 

“What pension investments he did make he later raided funnelling the money into his own accounts.”

The company was liquidated in October 2018, and according to the FCA’s website, it provided regulated activities and products until October 2020.