Former footballer jailed for £15m investment scam  

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Former Premier League football star Richard Rufus has been jailed after defrauding friends, family, and associates to the tune of £15 million. The former Charlton Athletic defender was sentenced to over seven years in prison after being found guilty of fraud, money laundering, and carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation. 

Rufus had claimed to be a foreign exchange trader who had successfully invested on behalf of other footballers who he could not identify for confidentiality reasons. He convinced his victims to invest in a scheme that he claimed was low-risk, and which would deliver returns of 60% a year. The investment ultimately turned out to be a pyramid-style scheme.  

Commenting on the case, Roger Makanjuola of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “He claimed that he had been successful with his investment strategies previously, but the investments were fraught with risk and he lost his victims’ much needed money to the amount of £15million. 

“While making these huge losses he put approximately £2million into his personal accounts, allegedly for the purposes of investment but this was never transferred over to his trading account. 

“We now commence confiscation proceedings to seek to recover his ill-gotten gains” 

Professional athletes are also being targeted by investment fraudsters

While, in this case, an ex-footballer was the perpetrator, many professional athletes are being targeted by investment fraudsters. Indeed, at least one of Rufus’s victims is believed to be another footballer.  

In other cases, Rio Ferdinand, Andy Cole, Craig Short, Martin Keown and Danny Murphy are thought to have been involved in a scam in which victims suffered losses ranging from £100,000 to several million pounds. In total, losses totalling more than £25 million have been identified. In another case, up to 100 footballers including Robbie Keane, Jimmy Bullard and Gabby Agbonlahor, are among the purported victims of a £30 million Ponzi scheme scam with individual losses ranging from a few thousand pounds to more than a million. 

As a result of negligent or fraudulent financial advice, many former and current sportspeople have:  

  • Lost thousands to millions of pounds  
  • Become bankrupt  
  • Made unregulated, unsuitable, and potentially fraudulent investments  
  • Discovered that they cannot access their money  
  • Been hit with high taxes, fees, and charges.  

 

Thousands of sportsmen and sportswomen in England & Wales have fallen victim to investment scams. At Keller Postman UK, we help professional sportspeople claim for the financial losses and emotional distress experienced following financial sports fraud. If you are affected, you could be owed hundreds of thousands of pounds (if not more) in compensation.   

Protect yourself from sports investment fraud

Following the recent case, the CPS has released some advice to help protect people from financial investment fraud. This includes:   

  • Investment opportunities: Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into investing on the spot. 
  • Seek advice first: Before making significant financial decisions, speak with trusted friends or family members, or seek professional independent advice. 
  • FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money. For more information about how to invest safely, please visit: https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart 

Keller Postman UK is working with a range of partners, affiliates, and other organisations to fight financial sports fraud.

This includes:   

  • The Investment Fraud APPG.  We are proud to support the Investment Fraud All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) fighting investment fraud in sport.   
  • Phoenix Sport & Media Group. We have partnered with Phoenix Sport & Media Group to provide financial education workshops and anti-fraud presentations to professional sportsmen and women across the UK.   

To make a claim, contact us at sportsfraud@kellerpostman.co.uk with your details and our team will be in touch. Alternatively, call 020 8057 7480 to speak to our team direct. Signing up is straightforward and costs nothing as we act on a no win-no fee basis.  

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