Financial advisors who defrauded millions of pounds from investors to be sentenced
PUBLISHED: 13:35 03 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:39 03 May 2018
Two financial advisors who lost around £5m of investors’ money through a high risk investment scheme will be sentenced this afternoon.
Brothers Alan Taylor, 38, of St Stephen’s Road, Norwich, and Russell Taylor, 37, of Trunch Road, Mundesley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud earlier this year.
Sentencing began on Monday and their fate will be determined this afternoon at King’s Lynn Crown Court.
Throughout the week, the brothers have been sat in the dock motionless, staring ahead and showing little to no emotion. Both have been remanded in custody since sentencing hearings began, dressed simply in a white shirt and smart trousers in Russell Taylor’s case and Alan Taylor in a white fleecy jumper.
In nearly a week of sentencing hearings, the court heard how the brothers invested around £16.7m of their clients’ money through Vantage Investment Group (VIG) without their clients knowing it was high risk.
Opening their case the prosecution read out a series of impact statements from victims, in which many described the stress, anxiety and sleepless nights caused by the defendants.
Both defendants were directors and shareholders of the fund, which they used to purchase Contracts for Differences (CFDs), in which making a profit depended on the movements of the market. But barrister Richard Bentwood, mitigating for Russell Taylor, said holding the position of a CFD to allow the market to move in a favourable direction was significantly costly.
“It was both betting in the wrong way coupled with the significant costs that caused a catastrophe,” Mr Bentwood added. He said Russell Taylor, a man of previously good character, was as inexperienced in dealing with financial matters as his brother.
“There is a direct link between these costs and Alan Taylor’s lack of understanding born out of a lack of experience and a lack of awareness of the pitfalls that may arise with CFDs. “They were undone by their own inexperience.”
He said that while there were clients who had lost money there were also some who had made a profit by leaving VIG early.
“Russell Taylor had seen investors redeem monies with profits, he believed that fundamentally the scheme was capable of making money,” Mr Bentwood added.
The court heard how Russell Taylor left school with three GCSEs - including a D in maths - and was close to his father Richard Taylor, who would eventually give his firm Taylor and Taylor Associates - and its clients - to the brothers.
Mr Bentwood said that Russell Taylor had a lesser role in the crime and asked Judge Anthony Bate for sentencing to reflect this.
Russell Taylor had been responsible for 65 clients and Alan Taylor 172, and that he dealt with £3.19m of clients’ money which led to a loss of around £980,000. Alan Taylor was responsible for dealing with £13.5m of clients’ money and the eventual loss of around £4m.
Mr Bentwood ended mitigation by stating there was a “gross excess of spending” in this case, including purchases of a yacht and Aston Martin sports car, but that most of these purchases were made by Alan Taylor.
The public gallery and even the judge broke into laughter when Mr Bentwood added: “Russell Taylor has no plans to go into financial matters again.”
The brothers are due to be sentenced this afternoon.
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