A former Premier League footballer has been jailed for seven and a half years after 100 people invested £15mn in his “scam” investment scheme.
Richard Rufus, 48, was found guilty on four counts of fraud by false representation and money laundering and one count of carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation at Southwark Crown Court today (January 12).
Rufus conned friends and family out of £15mn, of which investors were paid back £7.6mn, for a “foreign currency exchange scheme”.
The City of London Police said the ex-footballer appeared as an “honest and positive character”, telling investors it would be a high return and low risk investment, saying to one victim he only traded 5 per cent of the capital investment.
He positioned himself as a successful foreign exchange trader with extensive knowledge.
In reality, the former Charlton Athletic FC player used the money partly in a pyramid scheme, to pay back other investors, but also to fund his own lifestyle.
The investment scheme ran from May 2007 to the end of 2010, and during that time Rufus spent £300,000 on shopping, car finance, travel and restaurants.
He told the friends and family who invested that he did not need a licence from the Financial Conduct Authority as there was an exemption that allowed him to trade on their behalf.
In an initial interview under caution by the City of London Police in July 2015, Rufus said in a statement that he had done nothing wrong and his actions were in “good faith”.
He then refused to comment on the questions asked by the police.
Detective Constable Claire Sandford-Day, from the fraud operations team at the City of London Police, said: “Rufus deliberately deceived those who were close to him and those who trusted him and scammed them out of substantial sums of money.
“He used his status as a former footballer to make it appear that he was leading a life of wealth as a result of his former career and investments, when the reality was, he was not making profits from his trading activities and was using the money from his victims to pay for his lifestyle.”