UK adviser firm boss jailed for 14 years over £13m Ponzi fraud

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UK adviser firm boss jailed for 14 years over £13m Ponzi fraud

A UK financial advice company boss has been jailed for 14 years after he was found guilty of one of Scotland's largest scale investment frauds, duping investors into a £13m Ponzi scheme.

Alistair Greig, 66, who ran Aberdeen-based Midas Financial Solutions (Scotland), fraudulently obtained £13m from investors with £6m of investors savings finding its way into Greig's personal accounts, funding a lavish lifestyle of expensive cars, holiday homes and trips to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United and racing events at Cheltenham and Ascot.

At the High Court in Edinburgh on April 15, judge Lord Tyre sentenced Greig to serve 14 years in jail. The court had heard that Greig, owner of Midas Financial Solutions (Aberdeen), had convinced more than 140 investors to put their money into a non-existent, guaranteed, short-term deposit scheme.

'Enormous scale'

Greig claimed that he had access to a high interest Royal Bank of Scotland account in which he would safely deposit investors' money. Instead the High Court found that Greig was guilty of  "committing a fraud on an enormous scale" where he drained investors' pension pots and took many people's life savings to fund his own lavish lifestyle. 

Some investors received payments back from the 'Ponzi' scheme but the court heard that these were funded through new deposits that had been received from other investors.

Jonathan Knowles, a former mortgage adviser at Midas, told the court in February that Greig was the "sole conduit" for the scheme and there were no brochures or documents containing further information for investors.

'False guarantees'

On sentencing Greig to 14 years Lord Tyre said: "I have read the victim impact statements provided by a number, but by no means all, of the people who lost pensions and life savings because they believed what you told them about where their precious money was to be invested, and your false guarantees as to its safety. 

A lifeboat scheme set up to help investors has already received 186 claims against Midas with more expected. Some may now recover some of their losses through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

"It may be that some of these people will recover some of their losses through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, but that does not of itself reflect any credit on you. 

Greig denied committing the fraud and blamed a former business associate for the losses and claimed he felt sympathy for the victims. Speaking at the trial, Greig told the court: "My heart goes out to all of them. There is nothing I can do. I have lost every single thing I had, the properties, my home, everything. I know exactly how they feel. It has happened to me."

'Betrayed'

Lord Tyre told Grieg in his summary: "Many of these people have had their lives ruined by the fallout from the failure of the scheme, and yet you persist in asserting - without a shred of evidence led at the trial to justify it - that they were the ones responsible for the fraud, and that they are now conspiring to place the blame on you, and were all lying in their evidence to the court.

"Most of all I take account of the devastating impact that this fraud has had on a very large number of people, whose trust you deliberately and cruelly betrayed. You knew that the money you obtained from these people was earning nothing. You helped yourself to it whenever you felt like it."

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