A businessman from Doncaster has been jailed for eight and a half years for conning footballer Gary Cahill.

The Sun reported that Chelsea and England star Cahill, was conned out of £1 million by Stewart Groves who had offered the defender his services, but instead deposited the cash into his own bank accounts.

Stewart Groves has been disqualified for ten years after misappropriating £800,000 of one of his clients investments. At a crown court hearing, Groves was found guilty of fraud by misrepresentation and sentenced to 8 and a half years. Earlier this year, Lincoln County Court issued Groves a disqualification order banning him from being a director of a limited company for 10 years.

Groves was the director of Rapid Finance Ltd, the company was set up to make investments on behalf of a single investor. He managed the company under a shareholder and loan agreement, with an initial investment of half a million pounds. The sole investor in his firm alerted officials about the dealings of the company and in September 2015 the company was wound up. This triggered further investigations by the insolvency service. The investigation revealed that instead of making legitimate investments, Groves transferred a significant proportion of the money into his own accounts.

In an attempt to hide his fraudulent actions, he supplied false bank statements and accounts. He successfully covered his tracks and persuaded others to invest. Over the course of the next two years, more than £800,000 was invested in the company. £700,000 of it was transferred into accounts belonging to him.

Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Stewart Groves intentionally misled the company’s sole investor into believing his funds were being invested securely and the false reports supplied even lead to more money being provided. This behaviour will not be tolerated and this ban should serve as a warning to other directors tempted to act in a similar way that they have a duty to act in the best interests of the company, not themselves.”

Protect yourself from investment scams.

Action Fraud and The Financial Conduct Authority have reported a sharp rise in investment scams. The warning comes after a series of investment scams carried out via bogus online trading platforms during 2018/19 have cost victims a total of £27 million.

Action Frauds recommend the following ways to stay safe when scrolling:

Don’t assume it’s real – professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts don’t always mean that an investment opportunity is genuine. Criminals can use the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate.

Stay in control – avoid uninvited investment offers whether made on social media or over the phone. If you’re thinking about making an investment, thoroughly research the company first and consider getting independent advice.

Make the right checks – Firms providing regulated financial services must be authorised by the FCA. You can check whether they are authorised on the FCA’s Register. Use the contact details on the Register, not the details the firm gives you, to avoid ‘clones’.

Every report matters – If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber-crime, report it to Action Fraud.

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