A former financial advisor has been jailed for his involvement in a multi-million pound investment fraud. Neil Bartlett has been sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for scamming £4.5 million from victims, which he used to fund a lavish lifestyle of travel and gambling.
Police in Merseyside began to investigate Bartlett after receiving a number of complaints from Action Fraud, about his business practices. The scheme involved tricking victims into believing they were investing their pensions and life savings into investment accounts with interest. What he was actually doing was filtering the money through his company to pay himself this money to fund his lavish lifestyle.
In total, 24 victims were targeted by Bartlett over a period of five years, and as the investigation progressed, authorities learnt Bartlett had been taking advantage of elderly and vulnerable people by taking power of attorney for them.
Detective Sergeant Christopher Hawitt said: “We welcome the sentencing of Neil Bartlett and hope that he will now spend the considerable future thinking about the consequences of his actions. It is never nice for anyone to fall victim to fraud but this was a particularly unpleasant case for Bartlett’s victims as some of them had known him for over 50 years and so trusted him with, in some cases, their life savings. Bartlett thought of nobody but himself and furnishing his excessive lifestyle with the money he took from those who trusted him most. They are now forced to pick up the pieces of their lives but many have been left without the financial nest egg which was rightfully theirs and which they worked for many years to earn. In fact some of his victims, who have worked all their lives, are faced with the prospect of having to return to work. I would like to reassure the public that reports of any kind of fraud are taken extremely seriously and will be thoroughly investigated.”
What you can do to protect your money.
It is not solely a banks responsibility to keep our money safe, we must also take steps to protect ourselves adequately. Most people think they wouldn’t fall for a fraudulent text or email and are too savvy to be scammed, but criminals are more sophisticated than ever. When it comes to your money, always think twice. Have you received an unexpected call, email or text asking you to provide personal information? Just because someone knows some of your personal details it does not mean they are genuine. They may know your full name, address, maiden name etc, but they could be a fraudster looking to extract more information from you in order to gain access to your bank account and your money.
Stay safe from financial crime and remember:
- A bank or trusted organisation will never contact you asking for your PIN of full password, or to transfer money to a ‘Safe Account’.
- Never give out your personal or financial details unless you are 100% sure who you are talking to.
- Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text. This could give a fraudster access to your personal details.
- Always question people who contact you through cold-calling. Under new legislation brought in this year, it is now illegal to cold-call and individual unless you have given your specific consent for them to do so.
- If you are in any doubt about who a caller is, end the call. You can always call the company back when you have obtained the company’s number from a legitimate and trusted source.