The former boss of collapsed Jersey-based advisory firm Lumiere Wealth is to repay over £780,000 ($1m, €0.9m) to his victims – which is less than a third of the £2.7m that he took from them.
Christopher Byrne appeared in Jersey’s Royal Court on 26 March to learn how much of his wealth would be confiscated to repay investors, reports local newspaper Bailiwick Express.
It was argued by the prosecution that Byrne had benefitted from the fraud to the tune of more than £1m.
But his lawyer, Olaf Blakeley, argued that this sum was “unrealistic”.
He said setting a lower amount would mean it was more likely that the victims would get some of their money back and in a reasonable timeframe.
Investors were previously told that it was unlikely they would get their money back.
Byrne was sentenced to seven years in prison in September 2018 after he was convicted of 16 counts of financial misconduct.
If he fails to pay the compensation within 12 months, which will primarily be achieved through the sale of a property, he will be sent to prison for a further seven years.
Investing in Brazilian debt
The fate of Lumiere has been closely linked with Guernsey-based Providence Global, which collapsed in August 2016.
A subsidiary of US firm Providence Group of Companies, it promoted two funds that offered investors returns of up to 28% from a Brazilian factoring operation, where company debt was purchased at reduced prices.
The scheme was also promoted by Lumiere.
According to the prosecution, Byrne failed to tell investors that it was high risk and only suitable for experienced investors.
Many Lumiere investors were elderly or vulnerable, only had a small amount of money to invest and were allegedly financial cautious.
Byrne also neglected to tell investors that Providence was a major shareholder in Lumiere and that he was getting commission for pushing investments into the fund, reports Bailiwick Express.
Providence boss pleads guilty
Byrne is not the only person to stand trial over the fund.
The chief executive of Providence Companies Group admitted to orchestrating a $150m (£117.6m, €131.7m) scam that duped mostly elderly and vulnerable people across the world.
Antonio Buzaneli entered a guilty plea for one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud to a court in the US on 19 April 2018.
FBI acting special agent in charge Robert Bone said the “vast and sophisticated fraud scheme truly circled the globe, touching venues as near as St Louis Park, Minnesota and as far as Brazil, the United Kingdom and China”.
Providence opened offices and affiliates around the world; including in London, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Singapore, Vancouver and Panama.