A man already serving a six-and-a half year prison sentence for an East Sussex-based investment fraud now has to start repaying six victims, following an investigation by Sussex Police financial experts.
Police said Alan Bristowe, 64, of Church Street, Ticehurst, was given a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) at Brighton Crown Court on Friday, November 25, requiring him to compensate six victims of his systematic ‘Ponzi’ fraud in which he had used money given to him by would-be investors to pay others.
The court heard that Bristowe had benefited by £891,360.63 and had currently available assets of £189,421.67, including a property in Montenegro, cash, and some jewellery, a police spokesman added.
He was ordered to pay the value of his identified assets back to his victims on a pro-rata basis and was given three months to do so. If he fails to do so, according to police, he will serve a further 18-month sentence and will still have to pay.
He had been given the six-and-a-half year sentence at Lewes Crown Court on December 10, 2018, having pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud by false representation.
Detective Inspector Mark O’Brien of the force’s Economic Crime Unit said: “For three years until 2015 Bristowe, Trading as Moose Consultancy, took money from clients across the South East for supposed financial investment and provided a contract outlining a specific percentage return within a specified timeframe of three months. But the money was not invested and returns were paid to clients from moneys provided by new clients, or by persuading the original clients to reinvest their funds.
“His criminal activity came to light when one client requested the full return of her investments and profits. Bristowe provided cheques that bounced and fled the country. He subsequently returned and attempts were made by the victims to receive their funds by civil action but it became clear that he had no assets and no investments were ever made that would provide a return, and police were informed.
“Often in such cases the assets currently available are less than the amount originally stolen. The rest of the money he had was spent living a very lavish lifestyle but we keep records of all confiscation orders where the full benefit amount isn’t immediately available and have means of regularly checking to identify any additional assets which have been obtained since the original order was made.
“We can then apply to the court for an increase in the original order. We can also seek the help of the South East Regional Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE) team, part of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) who carry out further work to identify more assets.”