Your IndustryMar 7 2018

Investors speak of betrayal over scam

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Investors speak of betrayal over scam

Investors who lost pensions and life-savings when their money was moved to a high-risk scheme without their knowledge said today they felt betrayed by the two brothers behind the £17m scam.

Financial advisers Russell and Alan Taylor, who ran Taylor & Taylor Associates, admitted to the fraud at Norwich Crown Court yesterday.

They moved the money of clients who wanted low risk investments to a risky fund with another one of their companies called Vantage Investment Group, without telling their customers they owned Vantage.

Former customers had been preparing to give evidence at a long trial when the news came through yesterday they had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud.

A trial at King’s Lynn Crown Court later this year was expected to last up to six months.

Ann Lown and her husband Michael from Plumstead saw their savings halve in value after it was invested by the Taylors in the Vantage scheme without their knowledge.

"Our pension fund we had invested in was virtually wiped out," Mrs Lown, 63, said. "Both of us are still working now.

"The guilty plea was certainly most welcomed and will relieve all victims and their families from more stress and having to travel to court in King’s Lynn, but it is only the start of closure; there is a long way to go yet.

"For us, there is still a large amount of money outstanding which the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will not cover."

The Lowns were paid the maximum amount allowed by the FSCS for the money they lost through Taylor & Taylor, but have got nothing from the investment they lost through the Taylors’ firm Vantage Investment Group.

They are hopeful they will get that back following yesterday’s guilty pleas.

One retired business woman, 69, from north Norfolk, who lost money to the fraud said it had a "terrible emotional impact" on her life.

"What I really liked about them was it was a real family affair," she said. 

"I think that is what made this so upsetting, it felt they had betrayed me personally."

She had insisted the Taylors put her money in low risk investments and she did not question them when they moved her savings to a risky fund. 

"It was only when I got the letter from the police a few weeks later about the investigation that I discovered what had happened to my money," she said. "It was so stressful and a huge shock.

"As an elderly woman, living on my own, I felt extremely vulnerable and was so angry that they had misled me in such a way.

"Initially I had no idea who to turn to for help and it was a horrible experience."