Brothers responsible for multi-million fraud jailed
Two brothers from Norfolk, who defrauded more than 200 victims out of almost £17 million, have been sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison.
Alan Taylor, 38, of St Stephen’s Road, Norwich, and Russell Taylor, 37, of Trunch Road, Mundesley, were sentenced to six and five years respectively at King’s Lynn Crown Court today (Thursday) after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud.
The fraudster brothers were arrested following an investigation by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) after several of their clients became concerned about the loss of money invested in the brothers’ company, Taylor & Taylor Associates Ltd, and contacted Action Fraud.
An investigation uncovered how the brothers had used their company to defraud their clients out of vast sums of money between 2008 and 2015.
They fraudulently produced client records and misrepresented documents and persuaded their clients, who were often elderly and vulnerable, to sign them in order to gain access to their pension funds.
Without the clients’ knowledge, they then transferred the money to another company they owned, Vantage Investment Group Ltd., and placed them in a high-risk finance scheme.
It was a win-win situation for the two men - if the investments paid off they would take 20 per cent of the profits, and any losses were effectively funded by the client.
Each victim typically lost around half of their money.
Detective Chief Inspector Liz Fernandes, from ERSOU, said: “These heartless brothers cruelly took advantage of the trust their clients had in them by investing their money into a high-risk investment scheme akin to a roulette wheel.
“The victims had worked hard to accrue their pension funds and trusted the Taylors to make wise investment decisions for them. Instead they used the money for their own personal gain, frittering away their illicitly gained funds on items such as expensive cars and their own private boat bought by the business.
“Our officers have worked tirelessly for a number of years to bring these two individuals to justice so I’m delighted with the sentence handed out today as well as the substantial confiscation order which will see the brothers pay back their ill-gotten gains or face an even longer time in jail.
“This sentence can never make up for the heartache, anxiety, and trauma caused by the Taylors, but by stripping them of their liberty and lavish lifestyle, I hope we have brought some form of comfort and justice to the many victims.”
Mike Broomfield, Head of Intelligence at The Pensions Regulator, said: “The Taylors are textbook examples of how fraudsters abuse the trust of their vulnerable victims.
“They have cost their victims a large chunk of their pensions, leaving hundreds of people with less secure retirements.
“Regional organised crime units such as ERSOU, police forces, regulators and agencies work together to tackle pension scams, but we all need to do our bit to protect ourselves and the vulnerable in our community from fraudsters.”
The Pensions Regulator leads Project Bloom, a multi-agency taskforce which is working with government, the pensions industry, law enforcement agencies and other regulators to combat pension scams.
If people are approached about transferring their pensions, they should treat it as an attempt to steal from them. For advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of a pension scam or to report a scam, visit www.fca.org.uk/ScamSmart. Anyone who is considering transferring their pension should first visit the government’s free and impartial Pension Wise service for information.
A Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order will be made against the brothers at a later date.
'They were ruthless'
Following the sentencing, one of the Taylors' victims, who wishes to stay anonymous, shared her story. She said: “We were low risk investors, and our investments had initially been dealt with by the Taylors’ father, so we had the confidence in the business. We moved over to Alan when his father died and had various investments.
“My husband was then diagnosed with cancer so we made arrangements to see Alan as we had to sort the finances out - we knew he was going to die. Alan convinced us to withdraw from some of our existing investments elsewhere and put it in Vantage.
“Eight months later, during which time my husband had died, I got a letter saying Vantage were going into liquidation.
“In total we lost around half of our money. It broke my heart, it doesn’t compare to the utter heartbreak of losing my husband but it made the grieving process even tougher to deal with.
“They were completely ruthless. They sat opposite my husband, saw how ill he was, knew he was inevitably going to die, and yet still gave us the advice that led to us losing all this money.
“It’s been a long process and I’m glad it’s all over, but I no longer know who to trust and mentally I am shattered.”