'Lord of fraud' jailed 7 years for swindling 50 investors in £4M scam
‘Lord of fraud’ who blew £500,000 in Harrods and drove around in £200K Lamborghini after swindling more than 50 investors in £4million scam is jailed for seven years
- Jonathan Allard admitted one count of fraud and was jailed for seven years
A ‘lord of fraud’ who blew £500,000 in Harrods and drove around in a £220,000 Lamborghini after swindling more than 50 investors in a £4million scam was jailed for more than seven years today.
Jonathan Allard, 39, scammed his victims, including a serving police officer, using the company Zurich Private Capital (ZPC), Southwark Crown Court heard.
Allard harvested the proceeds in a number of bank accounts, including one that took £1million to Hong Kong. He spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on holidays across the world and treated himself to a Lamborghini Aventador.
Allard, who lived in a luxury £1.2million apartment in southwest London, also paid for the title ‘Lord Jonathan Allard’.
He admitted one count of fraud between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017 and was sentenced today. More than a dozen of his victims attended court to see his sentencing.
Jonathan Allard, 39, blew £500,000 in Harrods and drove around in a £220,000 Lamborghini after swindling more than 50 investors in a £4million scam. He admitted one count of fraud between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017 and was sentenced today at Southwark Crown Court (pictured)
John Greany, prosecuting, said the scam involved scamming more than 50 victims using ZPC and that a ‘scan of assets came to in excess of £4.2million’.
‘His identification documents were used to set up the accounts, a number of linked accounts were used to spend money on luxury goods and a credit card in his name,’ Mr Greany told the court.
‘Spending on the cards included half a million in Harrods, luxury watches over £400,000, a Lamborghini Aventador worth £220,000. In total these were luxury goods worth over £2million.
The court heard that an investigator calculated the total sum of lifestyle spending of £300,000 in Barbados and a number of luxury establishments.
Following his arrest, police officers also found a diary entry written by Allard in 2016 in which he wrote: ‘I made £80,000 this month. I’m sick. Be first, be smarter or cheat. It’s about me getting whatever I want.
‘It’s about me, get everything you want Jonathan. You’re worth it.’
In one email written in May 2016 to a member of his team, Allard said: ‘This guy has a minimum of 300,000 to invest, we’ve encountered every single hurdle with him, his trust is secured, bring him on board.’
He instructed another associate to ‘rewrite something like this for the bellend’, before writing to the victim himself: ‘Place £50,000 in the soy facility and I will oversee this is done correctly.’
Wearing a dark trench coat, shirt and tie, Allard showed no emotion as he was sentenced to seven years and two months imprisonment.
Judge Justin Cole told Allard: ‘This was a systematic fraud sustained over five years. You were the main architect of the fraud.
‘You inflicted misery on so many lives, it was a fraud from the outset. This is not one of those cases where a legit business turned to fraud.
‘[ZPC] was a vehicle for your own enrichment. This was a devious scam, it was dressed up in a sophisticated way with premises in Canary Wharf and an official-looking website.
‘I described you as the architect of this fraud and there is very strong evidence of your personal enrichment from this fraud.
‘The thrust of your mitigation documents is a list of names of other people you seek to deflect on to. You quite literally wrote the script of these frauds, which also reveals your attitude of contempt for the victims.’
The judge continued: ‘You displayed extraordinary arrogance. Diary notes show you to be self-congratulatory and arrogant in the extreme.
‘You inflicted misery that remains today. This is not just a numerical exercise, it is hard to envisage a more serious type of fraud when it comes to the impact on others’ lives, their savings and the number of people involved.
‘You were motivated by pure greed. It is said that you are depressed, but I have seen no medical evidence for this.’
Letters written by Allard’s victims were also read out in court.
One said: ‘I’m 63-year-old and a serving police officer. My wife is 57 and does not have a company pension. We had saved up over many years with the intention to invest for a regular income during retirement.
‘On discovering we had been victims of fraud, my initial reaction was shock and horror. I felt humiliated, stupid and very angry. This has affected me emotionally as I believe I have let my wife down. I have suffered from depression and lack of sleep.
‘We will try to recover financially best we can. I believe I will have to keep working 12-hour shifts as a police officer until I’m 66.’
Another wrote of finding financial transactions ‘stressful’, suffering from depression and felt ‘hopeless with no apparent end in sight’.
Another, who lost £125,000 in the fraud, wrote: ‘These funds equate to many years of hard work and toil that we were conned out of using this using very convincing tactics.
‘We believed ourselves to be intelligent and capable people, but were pressured by the persuasive and convincing manner of those who pushed us to invest over and over again.’
A widower, aged over 70, said she was dealing with ‘the chilling prospect of working until I die, or become too physically or mentally incapable to work anymore.’
Earlier the prosecutor said: ‘One of the features of the fraud was it was said to investors a number of times that their money would be invested safely in commodities, mostly soya.
‘None of the money was invested in soya or in fact anything at all, it was fraudulent from the outset. He had an office address in Canary Wharf and used an official-looking website.
‘Some victims, many in fact were told they had to keep their money invested for a minimum of three years.
‘Over time, some of the victims became suspicious. Those that threatened legal action were sometimes successful in getting some of their money back and in one case all.
‘However, a majority of victims were not successful and had their emails ignored. They incurred additional stress in their lives.
‘What in fact happened is that much of it went straight into bank accounts set up by Mr Allard to fund his own extravagant lifestyle from as early as April 2013.’
Mr Greany added: ‘Allard was running the sales team directing them to lie to investors and potential investors.
‘He had a very good understanding of the fraud. He was motivated by greed. There was a degree of sophistication by opening foreign bank accounts, using false identities and fake identity documents, such as passports and driving licence.
‘This involved significant planning for some four years. He gave direction to those in the investment and sales team.’
Allard was arrested at Gatwick Airport in 2016 and his Lamborghini was sized.
‘He was found with note of sums the victims were seeking to recover and letters demanding money.
‘To police he described himself as an entrepreneur who always had his finger on the pulse.
‘He said it was not entirely his company. He claimed he bought land in Brazil through lawyers and had regular conversations with lawyers in Brazil. He denied any cold calling which contradicts some of the investors’ evidence.
‘He was unable to give specific details about soya.’
Ian Bridge, defending Allard, said: ‘He brought shame on his family, in particular his elderly mother and his partner.
‘He did it on his own, he did it voluntarily, he was immature.
‘He’s ashamed by it and very sorry. When he read the victim statements he found it very upsetting and he will do everything he can to do something to pay them back.
‘It’s a terrible case in many ways. It’s had a terrible effect on the victims. Looking back, the day he decided to embark on this has destroyed himself as well as many others. He’s very sorry and very ashamed.’
Allard was sentenced to seven years and two months imprisonment for one charge of fraud.
Four counts of possessing an article for use in a fraud, money laundering and fraud by false representation were ordered to lie on file.
Confiscation proceedings have been adjourned, with a hearing date to seize his remaining assets to be set in 2024.
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