Former footballer jailed for £15m investment scam targeting family

A former Charlton Athletic footballer who convinced up to 100 friends and family members to invest more than £15m in a foreign currency exchange scheme has been jailed, say the City of London Police. 

London-based Richard Rufus was sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday (12 January), after being 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.

Formerly a player with Charlton Athletic Football Club, Rufus claimed to be successful foreign exchange trader who persuaded his friends and family to invest by promising a high returns and low risk investment, according to the City of London Police.

He also claimed 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.

His investment scheme ran from May 2007 to December 2010, during which he spent almost £300,000 on shopping, car finance, travel and restaurants. The investors' money was used to fund his own lifestyle as well as to pay back those who had paid in as part of a pyramid scheme.

City of London Police fraud operations team detective constable Claire Sandford-Day 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."

Of the £15m paid to accounts controlled by Rufus, investors received back a total of around £7.6m.

The FCA provided extensive support and assistance in relation to the prosecution, the police stated. This 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.

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