Investments  

Norfolk adviser brothers jailed over £17m fraud

Norfolk adviser brothers jailed over £17m fraud

Two financial advisors have been jailed for defrauding customers out of millions of pounds in savings.

Brothers Alan Taylor, 38, of St Stephen's Road, Norwich, and Russell Taylor, 37, of Trunch Road, Mundesley, admitted in March they defrauded 237 customers out of almost £17m from 2008 to 2015. 

It enabled them to purchase luxury items, including an Aston Martin, a yacht and 25 hours fly time with NetJets, which came to around £6,000 per hour in the air. 

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On Thursday afternoon (3 May) at King's Lynn Crown Court Judge Anthony Bate sentenced Alan Taylor to six years in prison and Russell Taylor to five.

They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud at a hearing in Norwich Crown Court on 6 March and their sentencing began in the crown court on Monday (30 April).

Throughout the week, the brothers have sat in the dock motionless, staring ahead and showing little to no emotion.

Both had been remanded in custody since sentencing hearings began, dressed simply in a white shirt and smart trousers in Russell Taylor's case and Alan Taylor in a white fleecy jumper.

The court heard how the brothers invested around £16.7m of their clients' money through Vantage Investment Group (VIG) without their clients knowing it was high risk.

The Taylors lied to the investors and put customers' cash into a high-risk scheme called Contracts for Differences, where they bet on the stock market falling.

They also did not disclose to customers that they were the directors and shareholders of VIG.

Opening their case the prosecution read out a series of impact statements from victims, in which many described the stress, anxiety and sleepless nights caused by the defendants.

The brothers had inherited customers from their late father Richard Taylor's business, Taylor and Taylor Associates, and were highly trusted by the investors.

Many were approaching retirement or were pensioners wanting low-risk investments.

In sentencing, Judge Anthony Bate told the defendants that their father's loyal clientele were handed over to them, many of whom took a cautious and measured approach to risk.

He said they trusted the defendants to deal with their money in the "honest and careful" way their father had done.

"This was an elaborate and prolonged breach of trust," he added.

In mitigation, barrister Richard Bentwood said Russell Taylor had a lesser role in the crime and asked Judge Anthony Bate for sentencing to reflect this.

Russell Taylor had been responsible for 65 clients and Alan Taylor had dealt with 172.

Russell Taylor he dealt with £3.19m of clients' money, which led to a loss of around £980,000.

Alan Taylor was responsible for dealing with £13.5m of clients' money and the eventual loss of around £4m.

Both the defendants were given a 20 per cent reduction in their sentences for pleading guilty early enough to save prosecution time and resources.

They were both also disqualified from being company directors for 12 years each.