Financial adviser jailed for fraud of more than £300k

PUBLISHED: 20:06 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 20:25 10 June 2020

Former financial adviser Luke Durrant has been jailed for four years for fraud after a trial at Norwich Crown Court  Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD

Former financial adviser Luke Durrant has been jailed for four years for fraud after a trial at Norwich Crown Court Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A former financial adviser from Ipswich has been jailed for four years after pleading guilty to acts of fraud of more than £300,000.

Luke Durrant, 31, was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday, June 9 after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position.

Durrant, formerly of Felixstowe Road in the town, had worked for Nacton-based financial advisers Sophex Ltd – which also trades as Lifetime Financial Solutions – at the time of the offences between May 2016 and November 2018.

Police first received reports of his activity on November 17 2018 and he voluntarily attended an interview with detectives.

Further enquiries later revealed he was conducting fraudulent activity relating to 18 of the company’s customers and stole money in the region of around £300,000 – some directly from the clients and some owed to the company – before putting them into his own bank accounts.

Durrant was summonsed to court on Tuesday, February 11, where he faced two counts of fraud – one for fraudulently obtaining £232,000, while the other was for between £69,000 and £72,000.

The company owners worked closely with detectives throughout the investigation, while an ongoing Proceeds of Crime Act case is recovering the monies stolen.

Detective chief inspector Nicky Wallace described his acts as “complex and sophisticated” which caused great misery.

Det Ch Insp Wallace added: “As an independent financial advisor, Durrant occupied a position of trust where he was expected to safeguard the financial interests of his clients. He dishonestly abused that position in a calculated and fraudulent manner making gains of many thousands of pounds.

“He selfishly pocketed this money for his own gain, showing little disregard for the fact that this money legally and rightfully belonged to hard working and honest members of the public, including one woman who was aged in her 90s. This was a complex and sophisticated criminal act that would have caused great misery, stress and anxiety for the victims.”

Speaking following Durrant’s guilty plea, Sophex Ltd director Alex Couling said he was pleased the ordeal is now behind the firm and assured client experience has returned to the normal high standard.

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