BrokerJun 4 2018

Struck-off adviser cheats investor out of £35k

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Struck-off adviser cheats investor out of £35k

A struck-off financial adviser who conned an investor out of £35,000 in non-existent property deals has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Hasmukh Thakor falsely promised the money would go towards holiday flats in Cyprus and a buy-to-let scheme in Birmingham.

The defendant, who impressed the victim with boasts of wealth and success, merely frittered the cash away – before being made bankrupt the following year with debts of nearly £400,000.

The defendant had fobbed the investor off with excuses whenever he asked for his money back, Leicester Crown Court was told.

The complainant let matters rest for four years, until receiving an email falsely advertising the defendant's company as flourishing with a book value "in excess of £100m."

Thakor, 65, of Pennine Close, Oadby, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation, in August 2008.

He was given a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Martin Hurst said the matter was reported to the police in 2012 and the delay in the police investigation was not the defendant's fault, although he contributed to the hold up by initially pleading not guilty to the offences in 2016.

He told Thakor he accepted his remorse was genuine and said he would no longer be able to provide financial services.

Justin Wigoder, prosecuting, said the victim was introduced to the defendant by a third party in 2008.

He said: "The defendant told the investor he had an Aston Martin outside and produced a set of keys with an Aston Martin emblem.

"He claimed to have many satisfied clients and persuaded him to invest."

Thakor said he was a member of the Financial Industrial Safeguards Authority and the National Association of Commercial Financial Brokers and pointed to certificates on his wall indicating that he was an accredited financial adviser.

Mr Wigoder said: "This was untrue.

"The Financial Conduct Authority have been contacted and it is clear that from January 2007 he was not personally permitted to provide financial advice.

"The company name he used, in this case, Select Property Financial Ltd, was never registered with the authority.

"The unsuspecting complainant made, as he thought, two investments.

"Firstly on 14 August 2008, he made a payment of £10,000 which he was told would be invested in a development of Rotos Mare in Cyprus and flats would be rented by Thomas Cook during the holiday season, thus paying for themselves through rental income.

"The second payment, of £25,000, was 15 days later on 29 August, which he was told was to purchase a repossessed property in Birmingham, to be used as a buy-to-let scheme.

"The investor never received a penny for either of these investments and never had his money back although whenever he asked, during three monthly meetings, Mr Thakor always promised to pay him back."

The defendant's company bank statements showed the money never went towards any property investments.

Mr Widgoder said: "It simply gets spent by the defendant, who was in considerable financial difficulties."

Thakor was declared bankrupt in 2009 owing secured creditors £31,654 and unsecured creditors, not including the victim, £365,831.

"He was mortgaged to the hilt and in negative equity," said Mr Wigoder.

With the first deposit, Thakor immediately withdrew £400 and the money went in 11 separate transactions, including one to his son.

The prosecutor said: "Exactly the same pattern can be seen with the second cheque, with a further cash withdrawal and further cheques to his son including a Sky subscription and window tinting, again presumably, for his son.

"The complainant seems to have left matters there, beyond simply asking for his money back until March 2012, when he received an email advertising the defendant’s firm, Select35, saying how successful it was which led to him going to the police, and that explains some of the delay."

The defendant told the police he had personally incurred losses in Cyprus, claiming an agent and builder had disappeared with his funds in 2007.

Elizabeth Power, mitigating, said the defendant regretted his actions which happened during a recession when he was in dire financial difficulties and ended up losing everything.

She said the offending happened 10 years ago and he was now retired.

Thakor, who was described as being of previous good character, now faces an inquiry into any assets he may have that could be confiscated by the court in a forthcoming proceeds of crime hearing.