11:19 04 September 2012
Three people, a couple and their accountant, have been imprisoned for using a fraudulent £10m investment scheme to finance their lavish lifestyle.
The couple John and Linda Hirst, both 61, teamed up with Richard Pollett, 70, to set up a Ponzi scheme where people were promised quick returns on their invested money.
The scheme began in 2001 and last for eight years.
Mr.Hirst, of Huddersfield Road, Brighouse, West Yorks, was sentenced to nine years in prison, while his wife was sentenced to two and a half years for money laundering.
Accountant Mr. Pollett, of Poole, Dorset, was sentenced to six and a half years for conspiracy to defraud.
Mr.Hirst pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and two counts of money laundering at the start of the trial, whereas Mrs. Hirst was found guilty of three counts of money laundering and one count of evading a liability by deception.
The couple, who are reportedly no longer together, married with a lavish ceremony and enjoyed luxury vacations in Las Vegas and Majorca using proceeds from their fraudulent scheme.
The scheme, according to Judge Jonathan Durham-Hall QC, targeted those who were ordinary, hardworking people who invested their savings and pensions into the scheme.
Many of their victims were elderly and divorced, and were described by the judge as ‘decent and trusting’ as reported by the BBC.
Mr. Hirst was formerly an insurance salesman and has been convicted for fraud previously, as he took redundancy money from Yorkshire miners in the 1990s.
It is understood he tried to involve other family members in his scheme but his son, Daniel Hirst, and Linda’s daughter, Zoe Waite, were both cleared of money laundering charges during the trial held earlier this year.
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