Businessman who defrauded investors of £483,400 has no money left, court told

Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001
Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001

A Suffolk businessman who spent seven years defrauding investors of more than £480,000 has no money left, a court heard.

Alan Smith, 57, formerly of Glemsford Road, Boxted, was last month jailed for four years and four months at Ipswich Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to 28 offences of fraud by false representation involving 15 people between January 2007 and January 2014.

Today (Friday) Smith was brought back to the same court for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing designed to recoup as much as possible of what he gained from his offending.

While Smith had repaid some of his victims, they still remained £335,623 out of pocket the court heard.

Judge Rupert Overbury heard that because specialist financial investigators failed to identify any cash or assets owned by Smith, applications for confiscation and the payment of compensation to victims was having to be withdrawn.

The only order made by Judge Overbury was for Smith to pay a £120 victim surcharge which must be paid within the next six months.

Some of Smith’s victims were women he met on a dating website, members of his partner’s family and people who had done work for him, said Lynne Shirley, prosecuting.

Among them were a 76-year-old who handed over her £100,000 life savings and only got back £48,000 from an investment recommended by Smith who described it as a ‘no brainer’.

A young couple who had been saving for a deposit for a house lost the money to Smith and were unable to find it again, the court heard when he was sentenced last month.

In total Smith obtained £483,400 from around 40 people, some of whom were partially paid back and others who had not lodged a formal complaint against him, said Lynne Shirley, prosecuting.

The court heard that initially Smith’s business ventures had been legitimate and succesful but were hit by the economic downturn and his telecoms business suffered a major blow when a large client withdrew.

As the situation deteriorated, Smith turned to taking money from investors, promising healthy, no risk returns, using the cash to finance his everyday living expenses.