Two men have been convicted of defrauding 128 elderly investors out of a total of more than £5 million.
Following a trial at Preston Crown Court, Malcolm Barber, from Wallasey, has been found guilty of two counts of fraudulent trading and one count of carrying out an unauthorised investment business.
A second defendant Terry Warrington, from Morecambe, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulent trading, one count of carrying out an unauthorised investment business and theft at an earlier hearing.
The men were charged with the offences following a four year investigation into Terry Warrington and Malcolm Barber’s involvement in two investment and loan companies between December 2002 and August 2010.
Tracey Ames, senior district Crown Prosecutor from the Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) said:
“These crimes have had a devastating impact on the victims in this case, all of whom trusted Malcolm Barber and Terry Warrington with substantial amounts of their money but at no stage were told that the men were in fact the beneficial shareholders of the two companies.
“They used the money invested in their companies in a variety of ways which prejudiced the investors’ interests, and they continued to accept investments when they should not have done so. As a result of their deceitful actions, many of the victims have lost their life savings.
“We have been determined to bring Malcolm Barber and Terry Warrington to justice and we have worked hard to piece together all the evidence in this complex investigation to build strong cases against both of them.
“This included gathering evidence from foreign jurisdictions.
“The fact that we have been able to secure their convictions is testament to the partnership work of the CPS, police and other agencies who make up the North West Regional Asset Recovery Team.”
Detective Constable Stuart Haigh from Titan’s Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART), said: “Terry Warrington and Malcolm Barber are fraudsters who promised the earth to people but delivered very little.
“Their investors were often people enjoying the later stages of life who wanted to make money that they had earned from a lifetime of work last a little bit longer.
“It was a classic case of Warrington and Barber ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ and, despite having a £2m black hole in their finances and being insolvent, they continued to dupe investors into handing over more cash for the promise of returns that were never going to be achievable.
“Both men are responsible for a great deal of heartache and financial devastation suffered by dozens of people from both Merseyside and Lancashire, including some who regarded Warrington and Barber as their trusted friends.
“Today’s conviction of Malcombe Barber and the guilt admitted by Terry Warrington highlight the dangers people can leave themselves open to at the hands of predatory conmen who care only for getting ahead in life themselves and little for the ruin they leave in their wake.
“I would like to thank everyone who worked on this investigation and prosecution for their dedication and professionalism during what has been a long and complex case.”