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Oil Trader Jailed at York Crown Court for Fraud

James Rintoul

8:50am 18th March 2013

A man has been sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment at York Crown Court for fraudulently running a $15m business.

James David Rintoul, 55, from Brough in Humberside, but previously from Wykeham near Scarborough, was arrested in September 2011 on suspicion of fraud after the oil trading business he was running collapsed, say North Yorkshire Police. Officers say he pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading and money laundering.

North Yorkshire Police say Rintoul operated an investment fund called Fuel Pulse Ltd from his then home address in Wykeham, North Yorkshire. They add that he attracted investors from friends and associates in the trading world.

Officers say that the minimum stake was $100,000 and the funds would be used to buy and sell oil on the American oil markets. They add that Rintoul used a mathematical model to predict the trading on the oil markets based in the USA and the fund was successful for the first two months.

In October 2008 the fund started to lose money, but rather than inform the investors, Rintoul told them that fund was making incredible returns and this was evidenced in statements produced by Rintoul which bore no resemblance to the actual trading figures, say North Yorkshire Police. They add that this attracted further investors and in total £1.3 million GBP was invested by friends and associates of Rintoul.

Police say the fund continued to lose money but Rintoul kept telling the investors that their money was safe and at one point he claimed the fund was working at $15.8 million USD, in August 2011 the fund had less than $4,000 left.

North Yorkshire Police say that Rintoul approached two city investment bodies with the fictitious figures in order to raise capital up to $50 million to boost the fund but both attempts failed at the due diligence stage as Rintoul failed to show the actual trading losses and instead used the fabricated statements produced on his home computer.

They add that based on the false trading figures Rintoul produced through Fuel Pulse Ltd, he withdrew over £250,000 GBP in management fees for his own personal gain. These fees bore no actual resemblance to the trading results and he would never have been entitled to these returns, say officers.

Rintoul was previously a very successful oil trader having worked for large multi-national companies in London, say officers who add that he used his reputation and his contacts to set up the fund.

North Yorkshire Police add that due to the fact that he used friends who trusted him and then fabricated returns showing massive profits, as well sending the investors expensive Christmas hampers, he managed to continue to attract investment.

Inspector Garry Ridler, who led the North Yorkshire Police investigation, said: “Rintoul played with the investors’ money for his own gratification and his trading was described as chaotic. At the time of the collapse of the fund, the Fuel Pulse statements were showing nearly $3 million in the account when in reality he had lost the lot.

“Rintoul used his friendship with the investors to fund his own lifestyle and conduct this Ponzi-style fraud. This breach of trust and damage to the investors’ reputation, along with the loss of personal money, was what made this such a cruel fraud.”

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