A DUDLEY man has been jailed after conning hundreds of victims out of millions of pounds in a fake investment scheme.

Ross Gibson, aged 27 of Eve Lane, Dudley along with Christopher Toynton, aged 73 of Horseshoe Road, Spalding ran Lottery Syndicate Club Ltd in Spalding.

Detectives from Leicestershire Police’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU) began investigating in the spring of 2019 following complaints of suspected fraud.

The scheme operated between late 2017 and 2019 and had several hundred members from across the country, including Lincolnshire and Cornwall with some of the syndicate’s members also living abroad.

Toynton acted as the scheme’s sole director and was responsible for all administration, financial transactions, and contact with investors.

He also appointed Gibson to be the scheme’s trader, despite his lack of professional experience or qualifications in financial investment or market trading.

Gibson acted as an unauthorised trader and falsely claimed that trading was a success despite no profits being made.

Around four million pounds was invested in the scheme, most of which were either lost during trading or pocketed and misused by Toynton and Gibson for their own personal gain.

It was revealed Toynton spent £134,000 of investor’s money on luxury cars and holidays, while Gibson spent £400,000 on holidays and designer watches.

Victims were led to believe that the scheme was legitimate and that their investments were safe. Toynton also assured victims that the scheme was low risk and that they could withdraw funds at any time.

Although some money was sent back to victims to add credibility to the scheme, the high returns they were initially promised never materialised.

The scheme eventually collapsed in the spring of 2019.

Dudley News: Christopher Toynton.Christopher Toynton. (Image: Lincolnshire Police.)

However, Toynton continued to perpetuate the scheme’s success until his and Gibson’s eventual arrest in July 2019.

A trial lasting seven weeks at Lincoln Crown Court saw Toynton found guilty by a jury of four counts of fraud by false representation and five counts of fraud by abuse of position.

Gibson pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, carrying out regulated activities and fraud by false representation at the beginning of the trial in March.

On May 12, Toynton was sentenced to 54 months in jail and Gibson received a 53 month jail sentence.

PC Phil Gidlow, who led the investigation for ECU, said: “This verdict is a culmination of years of hard work by our dedicated investigators in the Economic Crime Unit and only made possible due to the support of the victims.

“Fraud is a despicable crime, undermining our basic trust in others. As a result of this scam, the victims not only suffered huge financial losses, shattering their current financial position and plans for the future, but also caused some to have mental health and relationship problems.

“I hope this case reflects that we are determined to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators and that the victims feel some justice has been achieved.”.