Convictions for defrauding philanthropist

Yesterday, the 31st May, three people were convicted for their part in a fraud which saw a philanthropic businessman lose £12 million. Sue Patten, Head of the CPS Central Fraud Division, said “This was a scam perpetrated by convincing fraudsters in which wealthy philanthropists were targeted with an investment scheme promising high profits for their charitable causes”.

Graham Dacre, a Norfolk businessman, was persuaded to hand over almost £12 million to a supposed high yield investment scheme and had set aside as much as 42 million Euros to invest. He was attracted to the scheme by its apparent connections with religious and humanitarian charities.

The defendants found guilty were as follows:

  • Ian Yorkshire: Two counts of conspiracy to launder criminal property
  • Alan Edward Hunt: Two counts of conspiracy to defraud
  • Arthur Trevor Ford-Batey: One count of conspiracy to defraud

Any reservations the investors had were allayed by the persuasiveness and bluster of those involved as to how the scheme operated and the protection it offered. Central to the scheme was Hunt, a formidable fraudster who was willing to turn nasty to protect his interests. When Mr Dacre suggested reporting his concerns to the authorities, Hunt threatened him. However, Mr Dacre ignored this threat and went to the police.

Not one penny of the millions defrauded has been returned to the victims.

The money was transferred to the Lichtenstein Landesbank, from there it was swiftly moved to Swiss, Turkish and British bank accounts.

Hunt convinced his victims he had previously been a barrister, a solicitor and had served in the Royal Navy. None of this was true.

Jim Dickie, BGP’s Head of Investigations said “This case classically highlights the need for due diligence to be conducted prior to making any financial investments. People should also be aware that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t”.

If you want any guidance on how we conduct due diligence, and how we can help you, please contact Jim or any of the team at BGP.