- Ian Richards spent £18,000 on jewellery for his wife and £48,000 on wine
- 64-year-old lied to investors who believed he was making huge returns
- Admitted fraud at Cardiff Crown Court and was sentenced yesterday
Lydia Willgress for MailOnline
Ian Richards (pictured) tricked investors out of £4.5million to fund his love of Aston Martins, horses and country mansions. He has been jailed for six years
The ‘Wolf of Wales’ conman who tricked investors out of £4.5million to fund his love of Aston Martins, horses and country mansions has been jailed for six years.
Ian Richards also bought £18,000 of expensive jewellery for his wife Christine and fine wine worth £48,000, a court heard.
The 64-year-old admitted fraud at Cardiff Crown Court in July and was sentenced to six years in jail yesterday.
Judge Tom Crowther said Richards had been motivated by greed.
He said: ‘Your investors were reassured by your ethos and your reputation.
‘During the next couple of years you continued to send out positive progress reports despite monthly losses. You stole from your investors for greed.’
Huw Evans, prosecuting, said £2.6m of the losses corresponded with Richards’ expenditure.
He added that Richards owned a fleet of cars including Aston Martins, Audis and Land Rovers, and kept four horses for his wife.
He also used the money to pay for his £3,250-per-month rent at his country home in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, over two years.
Richards spent the 1980s as a trader in New York for Chase Manhattan – but returned to Britain to gain a doctorate in economics.
While in the UK he persuaded food entrepreneur Jeff Archer to invest £10m into a fund managed by his company Nairic Investment Management and immediately began reporting impressive returns.
Mr Archer was so impressed with Richards he agreed to invite members of Oxfordshire Golf Club to invest their money into the fund too.
Christine Thomas invested the minimum amount of £10,000. She was later told it had grown to £23,000.
But Richards was making significant losses – leaving his conned friends and acquaintances with nothing.
The 64-year-old used the money to pay for his £3,250-per-month rent at his country home in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, over two years.
In one forged statement, he made a 76 per cent loss but instead reported a 1.4 per cent increase.
In 2009 Richards told two investors he had made losses due to high-risk trading and had been lying in his company’s financial statements.
Mr Evans added: ‘Richards informed them the losses were manageable and he could cover them, with his own personal funds.
‘Had all the investors known the truth at that stage then they probably would have wanted to take their money out.’
Richards was declared bankrupt in 2011 and his company was put into administration.
The house Richards was renting boasted several impressive rooms, including this open-plan kitchen
Richards also enjoyed a living room complete with a varnished wooden floor and two impressive windows
Gwent Police’s fraud unit investigated Richards over a three-year period and he was charged with fraud in May 2014.
Richard Evans, defending, said Richards had set up the investment fund to trade for friends and family and had intended to operate legitimately before beginning to rack up huge losses.
He said: ‘Richards tried to trade his way out of difficulty but the losses spoke for themselves. He’s destroyed himself and he’s sorry.
‘He’s had to leave his home and now lives in rented accommodation paid by his in-laws.
One man who was so impressed with Richards’ trading agreed to invite members of Oxfordshire Golf Club (pictured) to invest their money into the fund too
‘The people who had lost money were people who were wealthy. This was not a prolonged fraud which left people with nothing.’
DC Michelle Morris, of Gwent Police’s fraud squad, said it was pleased with the sentence.
She added: ‘I hope that today’s sentence will be of some comfort to the victims involved.’
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