Sunday November 24 ,2013 : GAMBLING FINANCIAL ADVISER ON HIS WAY TO JAIL
53-year-old financial consultant misappropriated almost a million sterling from investors, charities and friends.
Michael Garner, a 53-year-old financial adviser from Stockport, UK will have almost six years in jail to reflect on his conduct following sentencing in a British court this week for misappropriating almost a million pounds sterling from investors, charities and friends that trusted him to professionally invest their money.
Instead he gambled the money online at Jackpot Joy.com, placing bets totalling GBP 1.5 million, but winning back only half of that sum. At one point he was gambling GBP 10,000 a day, and on some days GBP 80,000, reports the Daily Mail.
Among those he defrauded was the Cheadle and Gatley Round Table charitable organisation, where he was the trusted treasurer and later president, businessmen who trusted him and elderly friends that he persuaded to invest in a Swiss venture.
Garner set up the Escrow Trading Trust, based in Cheshire to hold investors' cash, with him and two others as trustees. However, between December 2011 and May 2012 he forged a bank mandate that allowed him to withdraw money from the trust's account – and he did it without the knowledge or consent of his fellow trustees, diverting GBP 900,000.
The criminal activity was uncovered when one of the Escrow Trading trustees spoke to the trust's bank manager and realised the cash had gone missing.
Garner was arrested at his home and later pleaded guilty to five counts of theft relating to the Round Table, and two counts of fraud and 22 counts of theft relating to the Swiss investment opportunity.
Sentencing Garner to five years and eight months in jail, Recorder Michael Hayton QC described the financial adviser's breach of trust as ‘grotesque', and said his life had been ruined by his addiction to gambling. His activities had also proved devastating for people who had placed trust in him, the Recorder said.
Garner's legal representative told the court that he was remorseful, and that his marriage had suffered as a consequence of his actions. His home had been sold to help pay a civil claim against him by his investors, she added.