19Jan2018

Adviser who ran short term loan scam ordered to repay victims £2.5m

A fraudulent financial adviser who swindled nearly 50 people out of £12 million has been ordered to repay his victims – although he will only have to hand over £2.6 million.

Grahame Whitehead, 48, of Wickford, Essex, carried out his scam over five years, between 2004 and 2009 – persuading his clients to invest in two fake investment schemes.

They were led to believe they were investing in high-yielding Credit Suisse accounts and bonds, or in short-term bridging loans for the Salvation Army to buy property in the UK.

In largest fraud case ever investigated by Essex police, Whitehead was found to have paid the money into his and a family member’s bank account and used it for his own purposes – buying property in South Africa and the UK.

Judge Walden-Smith said: “This was an extremely serious fraud undertaken over a considerable period of time, with large numbers of victims who lost large amounts of money and, in some cases, put those victims in an extremely difficult financial position.”

"This was an extremely serious fraud undertaken over a considerable period of time"

Whitehead, who previously pleaded guilty to 49 fraud charges and was jailed for ten years in April, was brought back to Court to be stripped of his assets.

Although he made huge gains, only £2.6 million is available in assets – which are now being sold. The assets include cash, a number of properties, a BMW X5, insurance policies, golfing clothes and home furnishings. There is also a small amount of shares, rental income and money held in trusts funds and by solicitors.

Speaking to the Essex Enquirer newspaper, Det Chief Supt Gareth Wilson, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This case demonstrates the wide ranging tactics available to the newly formed directorate. The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) legislation used will go some way to compensate the victims of Whitehead's crimes.

“Upon release from prison, Grahame Whitehead will effectively owe the total of his criminal benefit and will be vigorously pursued if further assets are identified or if he attempts criminal activity in the future. The power of the POCA effectively means that this is a financial life sentence for Whitehead.”

Judge Karen Walden-Smith made an order that the total assets be divided between the victims. Extra money could be made available by the sale of the properties, which are currently in negative equity.

The financial fraudster was in charge of Woodbridge Financial Services – offering advice and mortgage services between 2002 and 2008.

He must now repay the £2.6 million in six months, and if he fails to do so will serve an extra year in prison.

« Back

Latest newsRss

  • Fast funds in six days

    Property Loans (UK) Ltd, were faced with a time critical challenge by one of their long standing development clients urgently needing a £500,000 loan completing in under one week.

  • Silver bridger's on the up at BFS

    Bridging Finance Solutions (BFS) has reported a sharp increase in ‘silver bridger's’ during the past 12 months, a trend the firm expects to continue into 2018.

  • BFS launch development product for sub £1m-loan market

    Bridging Finance Solutions continues to offer short term lending support to the smaller developer, launching a bespoke product catering for loans at a value of sub-£1 million.

  • BFS on track to increase turnover by 25%

    Bridging Finance Solutions continues to drive forward its ambitious growth and expansion plans, revealing plans to increase turnover by a further 25% in 2018.

  • How short term bridging can compliment traditional funding

    Bridging Finance is increasingly being used by both individuals and businesses as a short term solution that complements and supports traditional long term lending.

Accreditations Ombudsman Accreditations Astl NACFB