Ponzi Scheme; Court Jails Ex-EPL Star Over £8m Fraud

Richard Rufus, Pix By GETTY IMAGES

A former Premier League club defender, Richard Rufus, has been convicted and sentenced to seven and half years jail-term, by a United Kingdom Court, for defrauding friends, family and associates out of £8m in a pyramid scheme.

Richard, a former Charlton Athletic player, was found guilty of fraud, money laundering and carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation.

Prosecutors said he had claimed he was a foreign exchange trader, convincing victims to invest in a low-risk scheme.

Rufus, 48, who played for Charlton Athletic between 1993 and 2004, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years at Southwark Crown Court.

He was forced into retirement in 2004 following a knee injury.

Following the hearing, Roger Makanjuola, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), described Rufus’s actions as “selfish”, adding the footballer used his status as a professional athlete and a respected church member to scam his victims.

“While making these huge losses he put approximately £2m into his personal accounts, allegedly for the purposes of investment but this was never transferred over to his trading account.

‘Relationships and loyalties shattered’
“We now commence confiscation proceedings to seek to recover his ill-gotten gains”.

In a statement, City of London detectives said Rufus, of Purley, used his status as a sportsman to give the impression he was wealthy and successful, when in reality he was failing to make a profit from his trading activities.

Rufus claimed he was an experienced foreign exchange broker but was in fact using his victims’ money to reimburse those who had paid in as part of a pyramid scheme, the statement said.

Investigators added he told one victim he only traded 5 percent of the capital investment, which meant 95 percent would have been retained safely, reducing the risk of incurring large losses.

Of the £15m paid to accounts controlled by Rufus, investors received back a total of around £7.6m.

Police said his scheme ran from May 2007 to the end of 2010.

In the process, police said relationships and loyalties between friends had been shattered, with many suffering huge financial and mental health difficulties.

Analysis of his finances showed Rufus spent some £300,000 on his own lifestyle – including payments for travel, car finance, restaurants and shopping, police said.

The centre-back made his debut in 1993 and spent his whole career at Charlton Athletic. He made nearly 300 appearances for the south-east London side and scored his first goal for Charlton in the then Division One play-off final win against Sunderland at Wembley in 1998.

In 2005, Rufus was voted by fans as Charlton’s greatest defender. And despite playing for England’s U21 side, he was not capped at senior level

Source-: BBC