Lynden Scourfield, 54, of Greenford, Middlesex, was sentenced to a total of 11 years and three months for conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent trading and money laundering at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday. The scam ran businesses into the ground and saw HBOS incur losses of £250m.
Alongside Scourfield, four men and a woman were sentenced for their part in the crime, with the total jail time reaching 47 years and nine months. One man was acquitted and another had pled guilty at an earlier hearing.
David Mills, 60, of Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, who headed up the consultancy firm that Scourfield referred businesses in financial difficulties to, was jailed for a total of 15 years.
Mills’ wife, Alison, 51, received three and a half years, with business associates Michael Bancroft, 73, and John Cartwright, 72, got 10 years and three and half years, respectively. Mark Dobson who also worked at HBOS and received kickbacks from Mills was imprisoned for four and a half years.
The group were convicted earlier this week for the scam which started when Mills bribed Scourfield to direct HBOS customers to his consultancy services, which focused on helping struggling businesses out of liquidation, in return for hundreds of thousands of pounds, holidays to Thailand and Barbados and parties involving prostitutes.
The business customers, already in financial turmoil, were advanced large sums of cash which they could not afford to repay, while Mills and his associated received significant fees for their services.
Many of the businesses advised by Mills and loaned money by Scourfield went into liquidation resulting in job losses, financial hardship, marital breakdowns, the loss of owners homes and serious ill-health from among victims.
Senior investigating officer, detective superintendent Nick John, with Thames Valley Police said the case had been the “longest and most complex” in the history of the division.
“The sentencing reflects the severity of the crimes and the misery they inflicted on their victims. Their victims were people who were trying to contribute to the economy, creating jobs and offering goods and services. They were normal people running small to medium sized businesses who needed support and instead had their livelihoods, and in many cases, their lives destroyed by the greed of these parasites,” he said.
“Instead of offering advice and support these consultants including David Mills and Michael Bancroft would then take millions out of these companies by various means to fund lavish lifestyles.
“I am pleased for the victims, and there are many affected by the criminal behaviour of this gang, that they have seen these people finally get justice and I hope that this will help them move on after waiting such a long time.”
Lloyds Banking Group has been approached for comment.