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Sunday, November 1, 2015

People in positions of power may find it easier to commit fraud

By Andrew Reilly

When it comes to running a business, any form of investment can be attractive. With more and more people setting up small businesses these days, and the main lenders closing down the options they provide with respect to providing loans and financial support for new businesses, it is easy to see why people are looking for different ways to receiving funding. There has been an increase in the private investment market. This sees people, including many elderly people who have acquired savings over the years, being contacted with investment plans and opportunities. This style of agreement can see companies receive the backing they need to boost their company but it can also provide people with a chance to make a positive return on their money while also getting involved with something.

There is a great deal to be said for providing elderly purpose with a purpose and a focus in their life. While the elderly may not be getting hands on in the business they invest in, knowing that there is a chance to have a connection to something which is exciting and on the up is definitely something that will appeal to a great number of elderly people. This is why this is such a sensible option for people on both sides of the investment plans.

There is always a way to make money

However, it also means that there is an opportunity for fraudsters to make some money, which is sadly the backdrop for a case which has been heard in Exeter Crown Court. No matter the scenario or situation, if there is a chance for people to make money, there will usually be a chance for people to scam other people out of money. Sadly this appears to have been the case with one man standing accused of receiving £500,000 from investors. Lee Chapman is an ex financial adviser and alongside his two brothers, he faces a range of charges of fraud with all three men denying the charges. The accusations are of eight people being lured into investing close to £600,000 in a string of worthless companies that were allegedly linked to the Lords Cricket Club.

One 92 year old woman and an 85 year old woman lost up to £80,000 in investments. Lee Chapman is currently facing four counts of fraud and a separate three counts of acting as an unauthorised financial adviser. Mark Chapman is facing five counts of fraud and a further two charges of using fraudulent documents. Marc Payne is facing two charges of fraud and four charges of carrying out regulated activities, in the role of a financial advisor, without having the correct authorisation in place.

The victims were deemed too frail to be present in court

In court, evidence from Mrs Hill was shown on video as she was deemed to be too frail to provide evidence in person. The court was informed that she had invested sums of £38,000 and £30,000 and at one point she was even taken to her building society by Lee Chapman to get the money out of her account. Mrs Hill said on tape; “I trusted Lee with my life. I had known him for years and he always wrote out my cheques for me. I invested in the company because he asked.” Mrs Snell said that she was aware of Lee Chapman dating back to his time working at the Prudential, referring to him as “the man from the Pru” and again, there were occasions where Mr Chapman escorted Mrs Snell to her bank in order to take funds out of her account and even wrote cheques for her.

This style of case has a deeper twist in the fact that elderly ladies knew the man when he was initially in a respected position. This means that they would have got to know him over time and due to his position, he would have come across as being honest and trustworthy. This would have meant that the elderly ladies wouldn’t have been as cautious about investing as they might have been if it was someone else asking for money.

The level of deception involved here paints the accused in a very bad light, and this is why there is a need for the right standard of defence solicitor. There will obviously be a great deal of revulsion at these alleged crimes, and this may impact on any punishment handed out if guilty verdicts are obtained. This is why the role of a defence solicitor is crucial in ensuring people receive a fair trial.

About the author: Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

Image: Torange.biz/Torange.com; CC BY 4.0