Ponsi scheme conman found guilty

AN ESSEX conman who stole �2million to fund a lavish lifestyle has been found guilty of deception after an 11-week trial.

James Hore

AN ESSEX conman who stole �2million to fund a lavish lifestyle has been found guilty of deception after an 11-week trial.

Steven Dagworthy was declared bankrupt but managed to entice several people to invest in his “businesses” when the money was really being used to pay for his extravagant lifestyle and his own escalating debts.

The 44-year-old from Danbury, near Maldon, obtained several millions of pounds from unsuspecting investors, and forged invoices to make his business look legitimate, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.

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But following an 11-week trial he was found guilty of eight counts of obtaining money by deception.

Dagworthy had, part way through the trial, pleaded guilty to four counts of engaging in business activity while bankrupt.

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The jury found him not guilty on two counts of theft.

The court previously heard how the deception occurred on several occasions between 2001 and 2004, when Dagworthy convinced people to invest in what they thought was printing equipment, usually on many different occasions, in what is known as a Ponsi scheme.

However, instead of investing the money, he used it to pay for his expensive Danbury home, as well as pay off previous investors.

Chris McCann, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This man not only acted as a director of several companies while bankrupt, he conned several people to invest in businesses, but used their money to pay off his own debts and afford himself a luxurious lifestyle.

“He guaranteed these people that their money was safe, and they would receive a high return on their investment, but many of them have seen very little of their money if any.

“Dagworthy also made efforts to cover his tracks by falsifying invoices and accounts to make the business look bona fide, but all that was happening was that he was recycling the cash for his own gain.”

Dagworthy will be sentenced on December 22 and has been remanded in custody.

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