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IFA Grahame Whitehead ordered to pay fraud victims £2.6m

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IFA Grahame Whitehead ordered to pay fraud victims £2.6m

IFA Grahame Whitehead has been ordered to pay £2.6 million to victims of his £26 million fraud.

Between 2004 and 2009 Whitehead paid clients' money into his own bank account and that of a family member while telling clients that their cash was being invested in loans bearing the Credit Suisse and Salvation Army name.

Whitehead made £26 million from the fraud but a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court was told victims would only receive £2,650,993 as that was all that could be realised from his estate. The money will be divided between claimants proportionate to their loss.

Last week a court of appeal reduced Whitehead's sentence from 10 to eight years. In April Whitehead, a former Burns Anderson appointed representative, was sentenced to two five-year prison terms relating to each fake loan scam.

But the court of appeal ruled that since Whitehead freely transferred funds received for both scams, the money should be treated as mixed. It ruled a 10-year sentence was excessively strong compared to comparable cases, and each five-year sentence was reduced to four. Whitehead's minimum sentence was reduced to four years.

Shelia Macdonald, a victim who invested £190,000, said: 'I was upset his sentence was reduced, though if I had it my way he'd be in prison forever.'

'The amount [of realisable assets] was higher than I had expected. I came with low expectations. I could still lose my house over this.'

Nearly all the funds to be paid to victims have been secured. Judge Karen Walden Smith said if the funds weren't made available within six months an additional nine-year default sentence would imposed.

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