Update: Fraudster who conned more than 200 people across Essex and Suffolk out of �7million is jailed for eight years
A HIGH-rolling gambling addict has today been jailed for eight years after fleecing former Ipswich Town goalkeeper Richard Wright and 200 other victims out of around �7 million.
David Bowerman even swindled his elderly mother by siphoning almost �37,000 from her internet savings account, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.
Bowerman preyed on his family and friends. He even wiped out the �112,000 life savings of his fiancee’s father during years of feeding his addiction through using other people’s money.
Among the 35-year-old’s victims was former England international and current Manchester City player Mr Wright, who was duped of �400,000.
Bowerman blew some of the money he scammed on three Caribbean cruises for himself, family and friends costing �80,000. He also bought an Aston Martin for �81,000, and a Mini for his fiancee’s Christmas present.
His luck finally ran out when he handed himself in to police in 2010. At the time his debts had become so overwhelming he could no longer keep servicing them, and provide premiums for his clients but using other investors’ money, in what is known as a Ponzi-style scam.
Prosecutor Antony Swift told the court: “He initially told police he was robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
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Mr Wright , Peter Stroud - former chairman of Chelmsford City Football Club, and another man had invested in an online gambling business, Shearer Hare, which Bowerman had set up.
Mr Stroud is said to have lost more than �1million.
Mr Swift said the men were lured in by Bowerman with the promise of large profits: “He was telling them ‘this particular specialist betting syndicate you put your money in, it’s guaranteed to make money - it’s going to make huge returns’.
“They were people who appeared to have a large amount of cash at their disposal. The defendant needed large amounts of cash to keep his various balls in the air and so he persuaded these people to invest individual large amounts.”
Bowerman, of Bramwoods Road, Chelmsford, pleaded guilty to 33 charges at a previous hearing. Four other charges will not be pursued, but will lay on file, the court heard.
Although the prosecution said his frauds from three separate schemes were valued at up to �7m, his defence team contend they were in the region of �6.5m.
The cons included a loan scheme, a bond scheme and the bookmaking venture.
Mr Swift said: “This defendant has committed a number of frauds over a number of years in which he has systematically - and the Crown says - cynically defrauded, for the most part family, friends and acquaintances of large sums of money. He has gone back to some people, in some cases, time and again.
“The total sum involved is in excess of �7m. The reason he was able to get away with it for so long was because of his personal acquaintance with many of these people, the trust they had in him, and because he had the backing of a well-established secure financial company.
“The defendant was taking most of the money for his own purposes and gambling it away.”
“It would seem he has netted in excess of �6m from the Shearer Hare fraud.”
A financial and mortgage advisor, Bowerman’s crimes have had a major impact on his victims.
The court heard he stole from two terminally ill people, two others lost their pension pots, and another victim said his marriage of 40 years had broken down due to losing �10,000.