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Financial adviser admits £300,000 of fraud while at ‘small family business’

PUBLISHED: 07:22 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:27 17 February 2020

The website of Lifetime Financial Solutions which has offices in Suffolk and Norfolk. Photo: Lifetime Financial Solutions

The website of Lifetime Financial Solutions which has offices in Suffolk and Norfolk. Photo: Lifetime Financial Solutions

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A financial adviser has admitted defrauding clients and a family business out of more than £300,000 over a two-year period.

Luke Durrant, of Playford Road, Ipswich - formerly of Felixstowe Road - was charged with two counts of fraud amounting to more than £300,000 in value between May 2018 and November 2018, while he was employed as an independent financial adviser.

Appearing in front of magistrates in Norwich, Durrant pleaded guilty to both charges and will be sentenced at a later date.

The charges relate to a two year period in which Durrant worked for a company called Sophex Ltd, which has offices in Blofield Heath near Norwich and Nacton in Suffolk, the latter of which was where Durrant was based.

Alex Couling, director of Sophex Ltd, which trades at Lifetime Financial Solutions, said he is pleased to put the entire ordeal behind the firm.

He said: "We are a small family business that my dad literally set up from our spare room and built into a success. Something like this puts our lives and livelihoods at risk and we could not distance ourselves from it further.
"In November 2018 a member of our team identified an irregularity in a file that Luke Durrant had been working on. Further investigation followed with more cases of irregular behaviour being identified.

"We contacted the police and the relevant authorities and have fully cooperated with their investigations. Durrant was suspended from duty immediately and his clients were advised that he no longer represented our firm.

"In the months that followed we contacted all affected clients taking appropriate steps to rectify their position.

"We would like to thank our team who have worked tirelessly over the last year or so to ensure that our client experience has been returned to our normal high standards."

Prosecutor Victoria Bastock said that while his sentencing could be dealt with in either magistrates or crown court, that the latter option would be more appropriate.

Ellie Carter, for Durrant said that the 31-year-old was of previous good character and requested a pre-sentencing report be prepared.

Chairman of the bench Alan Lusher declined jurisdiction, meaning Durrant is now due to be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on a later date.

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