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Adviser loses appeal against prison sentence

by: Professional Adviser
  • 03/11/2014
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Adviser loses appeal against prison sentence
A former mortgage adviser jailed for a £478k fraud - which included conning members of his own family - has lost an appeal against his prison sentence.

Mark Lewis, 50, from Hednesford in Staffordshire, was sentenced to six years in prison at Stafford Crown Court in May.

He promised investors up to 25% on investments in property schemes and solar panels but instead pocketed the cash.

An appeal hearing on 31 October resulted in judges dismissing Lewis’s case, according to the Express & Star.

Victims from across the West Midlands, many of them retired, lost life savings, pension pots, and money put aside for children and grandchildren as a result of Lewis’s activities. Several victims attended the court case in May.

They included an uncle and cousin of the adviser’s, who lost almost £100,000 between them.

Lewis was originally a partner in a legitimate mortgage advice business in Cannock but after setting up on his own he began conning people. He claimed their cash would be invested in properties that would be renovated and sold on at a profit but only one property was ever bought.

By luring more and more people into the scheme with impressive claims of quick profits he was able to make some payments to existing ‘investors’, thus attracting yet more victims into the scheme.

The court heard at one stage he had just £1.01 in his bank account and that he tried to cover his tracks by paying thousands of pounds into an account opened in the name of his ten-year-old son.

Recorder Sally Hancox described his behaviour as moving ‘almost seamlessly from recklessness to downright dishonesty’. She told him he had caused his victims considerable anxiety due to ‘a life’s work, a life’s savings, all disappeared, all through your calm words and confident promises’.

Lewis pleaded guilty to 16 charges of defrauding £478,000 from eight victims, from May 2008 to September 2012. However, while on bail for property fraud charges, he began another con involving investment in solar panels.

As the scam began to unravel, Lewis made excuses, ignored emails and resorted to post-dating cheques which then bounced.

He was sentenced to six years and five months, and told he would serve half and then remain on licence. It is understood he received legal aid to make his appeal at the Appeal Court in London.

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