Financial Conduct Authority  

Fraudster to pay victims 10 per cent of £3m profit

Fraudster to pay victims 10 per cent of £3m profit

Victims of a convicted fraudster will reclaim just under 10 per cent of the £3m he made operating unauthorised investment schemes. 

The Financial Conduct Authority said Mark Barry Starling, who was sentenced to five years in prison last year, spent the rest of the victims' funds "maintaining his comfortable lifestyle".

In a statement today (November 27) the regulator said if Starling failed to pay the confiscation order of £291,070.36 made against him at Southwark Crown Court, he risked spending an additional two and a half years in prison. 

The funds will be used to compensate the 14 victims, including friends and acquaintances of Starling, who invested just under £3m in unauthorised investment schemes operated between 2008 and 2017.

Starling claimed to be running three funds, the Pilot Dax fund, the Shadow Dax fund and the Pilot Eurostoxx fund, and described himself as a "proprietary futures trader".

He traded just £8,000 of the £3m invested with him, on which he made a loss of £2,450, but would sometimes pay money back to his investors on request to sustain the illusion of running a successful investment business.

But these payments were in fact funded from the investments of other victims. 

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: "The FCA will continue to take steps to ensure that proceeds of criminal activity are confiscated from the criminals we prosecute so that victims can be compensated as far as possible."

To cover up his deception and prolong the fraud, Starling resorted to forging documents and correspondence purporting to be from brokerages, and bank statements.

He also registered web domain names and created email addresses in names similar to a legitimate brokerage, and for an entirely fictitious brokerage.

In last year's trial Mr Justice Bartle QC said the forgeries were "sophisticated" and the whole scheme demonstrated the way that Starling had "abused a position of trust". 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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