Suffolk: Conman starts jail term

A CONMAN who stole �7million from hundreds of investors, including a former Ipswich Town footballer, has been jailed for eight years.

David Bowerman, 35, used the proceeds of the scam to fund an extravagant lifestyle of exotic holidays and fast cars.

The “compulsive gambler” blew �80,000 on Caribbean cruises, drove a �38,000 Audi and an �81,000 Aston Martin and enjoyed lavish casino trips, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

Two hundred investors were taken in, including ex-Ipswich and England goalkeeper Richard Wright and the former chairman of non-league Chelmsford City Football Club.

Despite the scale of the scam the “charismatic” conman racked up huge debts and eventually handed himself into police. Judge Charles Gratwicke jailed Bowerman for eight years after he admitted 32 counts of fraud and one of theft.

Prosecutor Antony Swift said: “This case involves a number of frauds over a number of years in which he systematically and cynically defrauded, for the most part, family, friends and acquaintances out of large sums of money.

“He went back to the same people time and again to get as much as he could. Up until the point at which he handed himself into the police, the total sum involved was �7m.”

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Mr Swift said Bowerman, of Bramwoods Road, Chelmsford, began targeting “people with large amounts of cash” in an attempt to “keep his various balls in the air”.

Manchester City reserve goalkeeper Wright, 35, who has also played for Everton, West Ham and Arsenal, handed over �400,000. Peter Stroud, 46, the former chairman of Chelmsford City, invested more than �1m. Bowerman stole �36,500 from a savings account belonging to his elderly mum, Cynthia.

While the prosecution said the total value of the fraudulent schemes was �7m, Christopher Kerr, mitigating, said the true figure was closer to �6.5m.

He said his client admitted the offences at the earliest opportunity, had handed himself into police and felt genuine remorse.

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