A MAN has been jailed for six years for conning more than 50 people out of millions of pounds.
David Reid, 50, of Burnhope, County Durham, was charged with 23 offences of obtaining a money transfer by deception. The offences span a period of 12 years.
Additionally, he was also charged with participating in a fraudulent business, dating from January 2007 to the present day.
The long-running fraud investigation into Washington Mortgage Centre resulted in 51 victims with allegations amounting to almost £3.5milllion.
On Monday, February 17, Reid appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to the charges. On Friday, March 21, he was jailed for six years.
The investigation began on Friday, January 18, 2013, when police received a number of complaints reporting fraud relating to the activities of businesses operated by Reid at The Galleries in Washington.
The allegations related to Reid advising victims to place their money in an offshore account where it would accrue a higher rate of interest. They were then supposed to be receiving interest payments from the investment directly to their bank accounts. Around November 2012 these payments stopped.
Enquiries the victims then made with banks indicated the offshore account did not exist and the documentation supporting this account was false.
Northumbria Police Major Crime Team launched an investigation into the claims, which resulted in search warrants being carried out at Reid’s business premises and home resulting in the seizure of information and documents on his clients and business interests.
Since the launch of the investigation, more complaints were received in both the Northumbria and Durham areas. Reid was arrested in March, 2013, as part of the ongoing investigation.
Northumbria Police DCI Christina Barrett said: “Reid gained the trust of his victims, so much so that he persuaded people to cash in existing investments, insurance and pension premiums on his advice to make investments in his scheme.
“The financial advice Reid provided to his clients was false and misleading and forged documents appear to have been used to reinforce the fraud, convincing clients to participate in the scheme.
“He deceived people out of millions of pounds and left many of his victims suffering significant financial hardship. These people put their trust in Reid and his actions are nothing short of disgusting. The impact on these individuals cannot be underestimated with generations of families’ inheritance stolen by Reid.”
DCI Barrett added: “This was a long-running and complicated investigation which saw more than 50 people make complaints about their dealings with Reid.
“As well as making sure relevant documents were seized and witnesses spoken to, the investigation also included liaising with banking institutions and financial regulators.
“Our officers worked hard to ensure Reid was put before the courts for his actions and I’m satisfied he has admitted this fraud. I’m satisfied with the sentence passed, which ensures this man is behind bars for his callous and coldhearted actions.”
Financial investigators have undertaken an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.