10th February 2015
A former financial adviser from Eastbourne has been jailed for four years and eight months after admitting stealing almost £1 million from clients.
John Edward Field, 77, of Cooden Drive, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court today for charges in relation which 37 clients, the Eastbourne Herald reports.
He admitted a series of charges concerning the creation of fake investment schemes.
Between 2004 and 2013 he stole a total of £988,161. Field’s company, Meads Financial Consultants Ltd, of Gildredge Road, Eastbourne, got into financial difficulties in 2005.
He persuaded clients, many of whom were his friends, to invest in a fake investment he called ‘Sesame’.
One woman lost £118,500 in the scheme, with many others losing tens of thousands of pounds, the newspaper reports. A further victim lost £4,000 she had invested for her mother’s funeral.
Prosecutor Stephen Shay said many of the victims were approaching retirement and had invested their life savings.
Defending, Phillip Wakefield, said Field used the cash to bail out his company and Mr Shay agreed that it did not seem that the adviser had enjoyed an “exuberant lifestyle”.
Recorder Anthony Chinn said many of Field’s were investing for their children and grandchildren.
Field told his clients the ‘Sesame’ investments would be paid back in April 2013, the court heard, but he made excuses and pushed the date back to August 2013.
At this point, his son who was another company director with no knowledge of the scam, contacted clients. Field was interviewed by police in December 2013. The company has since been liquidated.
Recorder Chinn said: “I find it incredible this money has disappeared in the way you say it has, to keep your small business afloat.
“Perhaps your business needed the cash but these people could not afford to lose these sums of money.
“You should have wound the business up, that should have been obvious to a financial adviser.
“You treated them with total disrespect.”
Recorder Chinn took into account Field’s age, early guilty plea, and medical issues, which include heart problems and dementia, when sentencing him.
He added: “It is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified.”
Field was given a four year and eight month prison sentence, and was banned from setting up a company for eight years.