Former Charlton Athletic footballer Richard Rufus has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for £15m investment fraud.
A former Premier League player persuaded up to 100 friends and family to invest a total of over £15m in a currency exchange scheme.
After a four-week trial, Mr Rufus, 48, from London, was found guilty of making false statements, four counts of fraud by money laundering and one count of conducting regulated activities without a permit.
He was today sentenced to seven and a half years in prison by the Southwark Criminal Court.
Investment fraud acted as a form of pyramid scheme in which new investors funded old investors.
Rufus said many of the victims told family and friends that they were successful forex traders. He promised them high returns of up to 60% and low investment risk.
He told one of his victims that he had traded only 5% of his capital investment. This means that 95% is held safe, reducing the risk of a large loss.
In reality, he used the money he invested to pay back those who paid him as part of the pyramid scheme, as well as to fund his own lifestyle.
Mr Rufus also falsely claimed to have brought millions of pounds in profits to the church and good profits to other and former footballers.In 2004 a knee injury forced him to retire.
An analysis of his spending during an investment scheme that ran from May 2007 to the end of 2010 showed that he spent almost £300,000 on shopping, car finance, travel and restaurants.
Of the £15m paid into accounts managed by Mr Rufus, investors received only around £7.6m.
Detective Constable Claire Sandford Day of the City of London Police Fraud Team said:
“He used his status as a former footballer to make it appear that he was living a wealthy life as a result of his previous career and investments. In reality, he did not profit from his trading activities. , was using money’ from his victims to pay for his lifestyle.
Many of Rufus’ victims suffered financial and mental health problems as a result of the scheme.
A license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is required because some of the lies Mr Rufus told his friends and family include exemptions that allow him to trade on behalf of friends and family, according to City of London Police. It also included some that weren’t.
The FCA provided extensive support for the prosecution. This assistance included sharing information and documents obtained from the investigation, providing technical support regarding the offense of conducting unauthorized activities in a regulated activity, and the waivers Rufus sought to count on. .
In his first interview under London police guard in July 2015, Mr Rufus said he had done nothing wrong and was “honest” in his actions. provided a statement. He then answered all questions asked with no comment.