A FRAUDSTER has been handed an eight-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to fraud offences amounting to almost £1.6m.
Michael Mawdsley, 62, preyed on elderly pensioners and exploited their wealth through a smokescreen of professionalism.
He provided financial advice to private clients despite not being authorised to do so by the Financial Services Authority. Mawdsley recommended that his victims, who at one point totalled more than 200 individuals spread across the country, invest their life savings into insurance policies and other low risk financial investments.
Over time it emerged that his clients had lost substantial amounts of money and had never received documentation in relation to their investments.
The matter was first reported to Cheshire Police in 2005, and during the investigation detectives uncovered a wide range of fraudulent financial activities undertaken by Mawdsley, including falsification of policy documents, passports, health insurance and evidence of unsuitable investments. Shockingly, after building up the trust of his victims, Mawdsley even offered his elderly clients ‘equity release’ on their homes further plundering his vulnerable victims and potentially taking the roof from over their heads.
The investigation also proved that Mawdsley was regularly accepting cash, cheque and money transfers for considerable sums from his clients who handed over funds in the belief that the money was to be invested on their behalf.
Instead, Mawdsley exploited his elderly victims, keeping the cash for himself. Despite conning clients out of hundreds of thousands of pounds, he frittered away his victims’ money, running up massive credit card bills.
Detective Inspector Terry Tinsley, head of Cheshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit said: “We hope todays decision to imprison Mawdsley for his reign of exploitation upon his elderly victims will help bring them a degree of closure.
“Blatant exploitation of one of the most vulnerable groups in our community – the elderly – will not be tolerated and this lengthy investigation would not have reached a successful conclusion without the dedication of my officers and the evidence provided by all the victims affected by Mawdsley. “We urge anyone who feels they have been the victim of fraudulent investment, or to anyone who has had similar experiences as Mawdsley’s victims – to contact their local Police and the FSA or Trading Standards, who will offer you help and advice.”