Former Charlton Athletic defender Richard Rufus has been sentenced to seven and half years in prison for defrauding friends, family members and associates out of £15m ($18.3m, €17m), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced.
Rufus was previously found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of fraud, money laundering and carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation and was sentenced on 12 January 2023.
The CPS and the City of London Police investigation established that the ex-Premier League footballer claimed he was a successful foreign exchange trader and used this to convince victims to invest in his ‘low-risk’ scheme with promises of returns of 60% a year.
The prosecution team uncovered that Rufus used some of the £15m invested to pay back investors in a pyramid-style scheme – using funds from newer investors to pay back older ones – but used the rest to maintain a lifestyle of an elite professional footballer.
Rufus “falsely claimed to have made multi-million-pound returns for a church and good returns for other footballers or ex-footballers, for whom he had invested funds but who he could not identify for confidentiality reasons”, the CPS said.
Roger Makanjuola of the CPS said: “Rufus acted in a selfish manner without any concern for his victims. He took advantage of his status as a professional athlete, a respected church member and he used the goodwill of his family and friends to scam them and associates out of millions of pounds by falsely claiming he was able to offer a low-risk investment in the Foreign Exchange Market.
“He claimed that he had been successful with his investment strategies previously, but the investments were fraught with risk and he lost his victims’ much needed money to the amount of £15m.
“While making these huge losses he put approximately £2m into his personal accounts, allegedly for the purposes of investment but this was never transferred over to his trading account. We now commence confiscation proceedings to seek to recover his ill-gotten gains.”