Caryn Bates, 41, of Cowden, Edenbridge, and Matthew Sullivan, 53, from
Dymchurch, pleaded guilty to the investment fraud at an earlier hearing
on 5 September at Maidstone Crown Court.
Investigations by officers from the Serious Economic Crime Unit
found the pair used Bates’ experience from her career as a bank
manager to convince their victims to part with their money.
Both Bates and Sullivan used their knowledge of the stock
markets and industry background to dupe investors into ploughing
money into the bogus scheme, called 'World Trading', which began in
March 2006 and continued until October 2010.
Many people used their life savings to get into the project, which Bates
and Sullivan promised them would deliver a guaranteed return of
between two and five per cent per month.
Nearly 40 victims were identified in the police investigation, many
of them from Kent as well as up to 10 in Spain.
Some of the money was used to give the promised monthly returns to
other investors to keep up the façade that the scheme was working, in
the familiar style of a classic 'Ponzi' scheme. But the majority
of the cash was used to fund Sullivan’s gambling interests and to
maintain his and Bates’ lifestyle.
In 2009, when a growing number of clients started to ask for their
money back, Sullivan started offering them three month bonds,
offering a guaranteed return of five per cent per month. It was not
until late 2010 that the majority of investors realised their money
was in grave jeopardy.
Sullivan and Bates fobbed off disgruntled investors with
excuses about the length of time to release money from offshore
accounts but in 2011 the fraud was brought to a halt as a result of
complaints made to police by upset clients who were unable to obtain
repayment of their money.
On Thursday, November 14, Sullivan was sentenced to seven years in
prison, while Bates was ordered to serve a five years and six months
Both have been disqualified from being a company director for 10
years and Sullivan will be the subject of a crime prevention order
for five years after his release.
Detective Constable Mark Agnew, from the Serious Economic Crime Unit
carried out a complex investigation including sifting through a vast
amount of data from betting companies and bank accounts as well as
overseas companies to find out where the money had gone.
DC Agnew said: ‘Sullivan and Bates conned their family and friends
out of millions of pounds.
‘Their clients trusted them to invest their money wisely and legally
with the promise of solid returns on their capital. What they didn’t
realise, until it was too late, was Sullivan and Bates used the cash
to fund their lifestyle.
‘They were happy to live off their family and friends’ life-savings
without a care in the world'.
© Hawkinge Gazette and Channel Coast News 2013
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