Three people who cheated UK investors and ex-pats in Majorca out of their life savings have been convicted of running a multi-million pound Ponzi scheme.
Over an eight year period John Hirst, his wife Linda Hirst and Richard Pollett collected over £10m from friends and neighbours on the Mediterranean island by promising returns of 1.5% per month from their investment company, Gilher Inc.
Gilher was supposed to provide returns from investments in the US stock market. Instead, a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation found that around half of the money invested was siphoned off by the Hirsts to fund a luxury lifestyle. This included travelling first class, spending over £470,000 on developing their Majorcan home and gifting hundreds of thousands of pounds to family members.
The SFO says Hirst conducted a similar fraud in the early 1990s when working as an insurance salesman in Yorkshire. On that occasion he was jailed after conning out-of-work miners out of their redundancy payments.
At their trial at Bradford Crown Court, Hirst pleaded guilty. Pollett was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and Linda Hirst was found guilty of money laundering. They will be sentenced on August 31.
Get the latest news in your inbox. Sign up to receive the Accountancy Live e-newsletter, HERE