Bentham man convicted in ‘Ponzi’ investment scheme

Geoffrey Langdale.
Geoffrey Langdale.

A trusted accountant has been jailed after conning clients out of £2.3 million in an investment scam.

Between 2002 and 2013, Geoffrey Langdale from Bentham organised what is known as a ‘Ponzi’ investment scheme, involving victims who invested various amounts of money ranging from £10,000 to £260,850.

Mr Langdale told the victims that their money would be invested into an ‘umbrella’ account with high interest rates of a legitimate company which was a subsidiary of a well-known high street bank.

In total, Mr Langdale received £2,333,487.57 in investments from his victims, only returning £1,150,840.59 to some of them, with a total of £1,182,646.98 still owed to the others.

Langdale’s victims lived in Bentham, Ingleton, Lancaster, Doncaster, Penrith, Windermere, Preston, Buxton, Colwyn Bay, Bury, Carnforth and Felixstowe.

Debra Chan, Senior Crown Prosecutor in the CPS said: “Over a period of 11 years Geoffrey Langdale abused his position as a trusted accountant while his victims, reassured by the reputation of his longstanding accountancy practice, were encouraged to invest money in his fraudulent “Ponzi” scheme.

“This conviction highlights Geoffrey Langdale’s dishonesty and the blatant disregard for the welfare of his clients.”

Detective Sergeant Andy Kenyon of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud Team, said: “Geoffrey Langdale was a trusted accountant in a small community and used his position to commit fraud.

“His dishonesty has had a lasting impact on many victims whose financial future has now been left in ruins and they are now facing financial hardship as a result of these crimes.”

Langdale, 63, of Springfield, Bentham, North Yorkshire, was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court to six years in jail after pleading guilty to obtaining a money transfer by deception and fraud.