Jersey Police and regulator urge people to be careful when investing after fraud trial

Pedro Gonçalves
Jersey Police and regulator urge people to be careful when investing after fraud trial

Jersey Police and the Island's financial services regulator are advising people to take extra care when choosing to invest money and to carry out thorough checks before making a decision. A warning after the recent jailing of former Lumiere Wealth managing director Christopher Byrne for seven years.

 "The police encourage all persons looking to invest funds on the advice of a financial advisor to follow the guidance issued by the Jersey Financial Services Commission available of their website or at their Castle Street office, " the financial crimes unit said in a statement.

Christopher Paul Byrne, 50, the former head of Lumiere Wealth, was found guilty of a number of charges at Jersey's Royal Court. 

Byrne was convicted on 14 counts of fraudulently inducing 13 clients to invest in the Providence Fund. In total, his clients lost £2.7m, as reported by International Investment

The authorities said they hoped "his conviction will encourage members of the public to ask questions of their financial adviser about their investments and to read carefully any documentation supplied to them before investing."

The joint statement from police and the JFSC focussed only on the work that was done to bring the case before the courts.

"The JFSC and JFCU worked in tandem as a range of criminal and regulatory offences came to light. Over the following 12 months, JFCU officers spoke to a large number of Lumiere Wealth clients, 13 of which were prepared to give evidence at trial.

"In the early stages of the investigation, all officers in JFCU office and personnel from other police departments were working on the case.

"In all, 148 statements were recorded from 73 witnesses and 535 exhibits, containing tens of thousands of physical documents and millions of computer files, were produced.'

The teams listened to 21,000 telephone calls that were recorded at the Lumiere office and read more than 32,000 SMS and chat messages.

"Above all the investigation highlighted the vulnerability of clients placing high degrees of trust in their financial adviser," the statement said.

"Some of Byrne's victims had known him for many years and came to trust him implicitly. Believing him to be giving impartial advice and having their best interests at heart they went on to lose £2.7m worth of their savings. In many cases the financial loss will have a lasting effect on their lives."