Former Charlton Athletic footballer jailed for seven and a half years for £15 million investment scam
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A former footballer who convinced up to 100 friends and members of his family to invest a total of more than £15 million in a foreign currency exchange scheme has been jailed for seven and a half years.
Richard Rufus, 48, of London, was found guilty of four counts of fraud by false representation, money laundering and one count of carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation after a four week-long trial. He was sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday 12th January 2023.
Detective Constable Claire Sandford-Day, from the fraud operations team at the City of London Police, said:
“Rufus deliberately deceived those who were close to him and those who trusted him to scam them out of substantial sums of money.
“He used his status as a former footballer to make it appear that he was leading a life of wealth as a result of his former career and investments, when the reality was, he was not making profits from his trading activities and was using the money from his victims to pay for his lifestyle.”
Rufus, who previously played for Charlton Athletic FC, claimed that he was a successful foreign exchange trader with extensive knowledge, and convinced his nearest and dearest to invest.
He appeared as an honest and positive character with a motivation to help others and assured investors that it would be high returns and low risk investment, making it difficult for many to turn down.
He told one victim that he only traded five per cent of the capital investment, which meant 95 per cent would have been retained safely, reducing the risk of incurring large losses.
In reality, it was found that Rufus used the money invested to pay back those who had paid in as part of a pyramid scheme, as well as funding his own lifestyle.
According to analysis of his spending during the investment scheme, which ran from May 2007 to the end of 2010, Rufus spent almost £300,000 on shopping, car finance, travel and restaurants.
Of the £15 million paid to accounts controlled by Rufus, investors received back a total of around £7.6 million.
As a result of the scam, friendships and loyalties between friends were shattered, with many suffering from huge financial and mental health difficulties as a result of the scheme.
Among the lies Rufus told to his friends and family was that he did not need a licence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as there was an exemption that permitted him to trade on behalf of friends and family.
The FCA provided extensive support and assistance in relation to the prosecution, which included sharing information and documents obtained from its investigation, offering technical support in relation to the offence of carrying on a regulated activity without authorisation and the exemption that Rufus was seeking to rely on, as well as assisting with several disclosure requests.
In his original interview under caution by the City of London Police in July 2015, Rufus provided a prepared statement saying that he had done nothing wrong and that his actions were in “good faith”. He then answered no comment to all questions asked.