A convicted fraudster will spend a further 10 years behind bars after he completes his original 11-year prison sentence in 2028.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the move stemmed from his failure to pay back £11m ($15m, €13m) of “ill-gotten gains from a fake ‘green’ investments scheme”.
Paid back a ‘paltry amount’
Michael Richards, 59, alongside four fellow Oxbridge graduates, was convicted of cheating the public revenue and sentenced in 2017.
In 2019, the CPS applied to the court to force Richards to pay back £9.9m, which has risen to £11.1m with interest.
But he paid just £30,000, which saw him return court on 17 August 2021.
Adrian Foster, head of the CPS Proceeds of Crime division, said: “Michael Richards failed to pay back the £11m he owed the public, so the CPS had to take him back to court and now he’s had 10 years added onto his current sentence.
“We worked with HMRC to make sure he did not benefit from the proceeds of his crime, but he has only paid back a paltry amount.
“Even when fraudsters are convicted and sentenced, the CPS will continue to pursue them for the money they owe, or they risk remaining in prison for many more years.”
Property and jewellery
The five fraudsters told investors their money would be used on research and development into carbon credits attracting more than £65m into the scheme, but only £16m was used to plant trees.
Additionally, they stole over £20m of investor funds which was spent on luxury properties around the world. They also failed to pay £6.5m in tax.
Richards spent his share on a £2.7m house and bought £32,000 worth of jewellery, the CPS said.
The other four are:
- Evdoros Demetriou, 82, who had nine years added to his six-year prison sentence in July 2021 for failing to pay back £4.6m;
- Robert Gold, sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment and disqualified from being a director;
- Rodney Whiston-Dew, sentenced to 10 years in prison and banned from holding directorships; and,
- Jonathan Anwyl, given five-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.