A man who targeted victims in Doncaster with a £2.3 million pyramid selling scheme has been jailed.
Geoffrey Langdale arranged what is known as a ‘Ponzi’ investment scheme, involving 28 victims who invested various amounts of money ranging from £10,000 to £260,850.
The 63-year-old from Springfield, Bentham, North Yorkshire, told the victims that their money would be invested into an ‘umbrella’ account with high interest rates of a legitimate company which was a subsidiary of a well-known high street bank. In total, Langdale received £2,333,487.57 in investments from his victims, only returning £1,150,840.59 to some of them, with a total of £1,182,646.98 still owed to the others.
He admitted obtaining a money transfer by deception, and fraud.
Bradford Crown Court heard he targeted victims in Doncaster, Bentham, Ingleton, Lancaster, Penrith, Windermere, Preston, Buxton, Colwyn Bay, Bury, Carnforth and Felixtowe.
Langdale was jailed for six years.
Detective Sergeant Andy Kenyon of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud Team, said: “Geoffrey Langdale was a trusted accountant in a small community and used his position to commit fraud. His dishonesty has had a lasting impact on many victims whose financial future has now been left in ruins and they are now facing financial hardship as a result of these crimes.”
Debra Chan, Senior Crown Prosecutor in the CPS said, “Over a period of 11 years Geoffrey Langdale abused his position as a trusted accountant while his victims, reassured by the reputation of his longstanding accountancy practice, were encouraged to invest money in his fraudulent “Ponzi” scheme.
“He fooled genuine investors by producing fraudulent documents and forging company logos to imply their money was safe. Instead of investing his clients’ money as promised, he used more than £1m to prop up his own companies including investing in a chemical company that later collapsed. As his debt spiralled out of control, he simply encouraged more and more people to invest in the scam.
“This conviction highlights Geoffrey Langdale’s dishonesty and the blatant disregard for the welfare of his clients.”