A man who convinced friends and family to invest millions of pounds in his Ponzi scheme to fund his own lifestyle has been jailed for three years and four months.
Anthony Vernon Parker was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Thursday 5 January 2023 after he pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation and one count of participating in a fraudulent business.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brought the charges against Parker following an investigation by Leicestershire Police after a total of 42 victims were referred to them by Action Fraud.
Over a period of seven years, between January 2011 and March 2018, Parker “claimed to be an investment manager” and told clients he “would invest their money in a controlled gambling scheme involving currency trading and the stock market”, the CPS said.
The CPS added that Parker “convinced friends and family members to place money with him” for the purposes of the spread betting scheme, with others later becoming involved through ‘word of mouth’ and recommendations. He “lured clients to invest with him by telling them that his system was ‘virtually risk-free’”.
In reality, this was a Ponzi scheme, whereby returns were paid to clients using other clients’ funds. The defendant used the investments to pay returns to other clients and to also fund his own lifestyle.
Over £3.4m ($4m, €3.8m) was invested with Parker, who was sentenced on the basis of a total amount of unrecoverable losses from 20 victims amounting to around £1.1m.
The CPS added that analysis of the defendant’s accounts revealed that “hundreds of thousands of pounds of this money was spent by Parker on clothing, rent/letting fees, credit card repayments, pubs and restaurants, utilities, subscriptions, and purchases from Amazon”. He had no other sources of income.
‘Acted with greed’
Jane Mitchell, specialist prosecutor for the CPS, said: “Parker acted with greed to convince dozens of victims to part with their own money under the pretence that he would be using it to make smart investments for them.
“Many of these investors have suffered significant losses because of their involvement with Parkers’ scheme and he manipulated a large number of people who trusted him with the false picture he painted of his ‘trading’.
“We want to encourage all those who think they’ve been a victim of an investment scam to come forward and report it.
“The CPS works closely with police, to bring fraudulent offenders like Parker to justice and we will be pursuing his ill-gotten gains through the Proceeds of Crime Act.”