Sunderland man at centre of £80m fraud gets another six years in prison

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A FORMER company director at the centre of an £80million fraud has had another six years added to his prison sentence.

John Potts, formerly of Silksworth Hall Drive in Sunderland, was chairman of Gateshead-based Practical Property Portfolio (PPP), which conned many investors out of their life savings.

Potts went on to spend his ill-gotten gains on designer clothing, racehorses and fast cars - including the 1960s Jaguar from the Inspector Morse TV series.

The 65-year-old was jailed for five years at Newcastle Crown Court in 2009 after admitting a charge of conspiracy to defraud between January 2001 and March 2003, when PPP closed down.

In September 2010, a £1.5million confiscation order was made against him, requiring him to pay the sum within two years or face an extra six years in prison.

Two magistrates sitting at Teesside Magistrates’ Court activated the sentence yesterday after hearing Potts, had only repaid £351,794.

Elizabeth Baker, the Serious Fraud Office’s joint head of the Proceeds of Crime Division, said: “This was a pernicious fraud, with large amounts of money paid over in good faith by investors.

“As a result John Potts enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle, using other people’s money to pay for home improvements and purchase race horses and expensive cars.

“The Serious Fraud Office is committed to ensuring criminals surrender the benefits of their crimes.”

The default sentence will be served unless the confiscation order plus accrued interest is paid in full.