Belper conman jailed for £50 million scam

Richard Clay, 50, of Belper, was jailed for 10 years and two months at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, October 9, after pleading guilty to fraud and forgery charges.
Richard Clay, 50, of Belper, was jailed for 10 years and two months at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, October 9, after pleading guilty to fraud and forgery charges.

A Belper conman has been jailed for more than 10 years after swindling £47.5 million from unwitting investors to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Richard Clay, 50, of Belper, was jailed at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, October 9, after pleading guilty to fraud and forgery charges.

Clay’s business partner Kathryn Clark, 52, of Edwalton, was handed a two-year suspended sentence.

Their elaborate scam – which involved both defendants operating sole control over marketing company, Arck LLP – defrauded hundreds of investors of pension funds and life savings.

It was only after civil proceedings were initiated that the fraud was uncovered and the defendants were arrested in March 2012.

Passing sentence, Judge Loraine-Smith said: “I have concluded two things, that you [Clay] will blame anyone else for what you have done and that you have shown not a shred of remorse for the damage you have caused to other people.”

Detective Inspector Andy Baguley, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “There are several hundred victims in this case who have not just suffered great financial loss, in many cases they have been traumatised...”

By marketing the respective financial instruments, which were sold on the basis of false and misleading information, money invested in these schemes amounted to approximately £47.5 million.

Clark was able to assist Clay with the fraud by providing a veneer of credibility because she was authorised under the Financial Services Act. She helped create forged bank statements in order to offer comfort to investors who became anxious about their investments as time passed.

In October 2014 Clay entered into an agreement with police, which meant that she cooperated with the prosecution in the case against Clay.

Clay pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud in December last year, while Clark pleaded guilty in July and October last year to three counts of fraud and two counts of forgery. Their company created and marketed investment financial products including property development in Cape Verde.

A hearing to discuss confiscation proceedings is scheduled for March 1, 2016.

Clay was jailed for 10 years and two months. Clark was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 300 of hours unpaid work. Clay was also given a serious crime prevention order, to last for five years.

Clay and Clark were disqualified from being a director of a company by the Insolvency Service for 15 and 14 years respectively earlier this year.