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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Jail For Yorkshire Businessman Who Conned Over a Million Pounds

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2:06pm 3rd June 2013

A North Yorkshire businessman has today (3 June 2013) been handed a jail term of five years and four months after conning three business associates out of £1.24m.

Jonathan Guy Brudenell, commonly known as Guy Brudenell, of Lammas Court, Scarcroft, Leeds, formerly of Runswick Bay, Whitby, appeared at Teesside Crown Court for sentencing.

He was originally charged with 12 offences under the Fraud Act, say North Yorkshire Police.

At York Crown Court On 30 November 2012, he pleaded guilty to six of those offences.

At Teesside Crown Court On 22 April 2013, he pleaded guilty to five of the remaining offences with one allowed to remain on file. He also pleaded guilty to one charge of perjury for making a false statement during a bankruptcy petition hearing.

He was given four years and eight months’ imprisonment for the fraud offences and eight months’ imprisonment for perjury with the sentences to run consecutively, say North Yorkshire Police.

Brudenell was a well-known North Yorkshire businessman, prominent in society and a friend and acquaintance of many wealthy individuals.

North Yorkshire Police say that on the face of it, he appeared to be a wealthy and successful property developer. He led a luxury lifestyle with beautiful homes, cars, expensive holidays and a helicopter.

But by 2008, they add his lifestyle had became nothing but a façade, covering up spiralling debt and unsustainable borrowing, resulting in him being declared bankrupt in October 2009.

Unfortunately, three North Yorkshire businessmen, who regarded Brudendell as a friend, became the victims of his desperate attempts to keep up this façade say North Yorkshire Police.

In 2010, North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud Team launched an investigation into Brudenell’s multiple financial and business activities after being alerted by the Official Receiver’s Office who were dealing with his bankruptcy and via Cleveland Police who took a call from one of his victims.

The investigation uncovered a web of lies, deception and fraud as Brudenell attempted to keep up his lifestyle and take money from others who believed he was a friend and respectable businessman.

The investigation came to head in November 2012 with Brudenell’s guilty pleas.

Detective Inspector Ian Wills who heads North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud Team, said: “Brudenell blatantly abused the trust of his friends. He was a persistent liar whose deception was compounded by fraudulently altering official documents and lying during legal proceedings in a feeble attempt to delay repayment of the loans and avoid exposure.

“Today’s result sends a clear message of how serious the criminal justice system takes cases of this nature and sends a warning to others who seek to defraud.

“It was a complex enquiry and I would like to pay tribute to Detective Constable Melanie Spanton whose thorough and detailed investigation led to Brudenell pleading guilty.”

 

North Yorkshire Police gave Minster FM this background on the case:

In November 2008 the first victim invested £600,000 in what he believed was repossessed property deal in York after being assured he would receive thousands of pounds in interest each month and his capital back within six months Unfortunately, the interest payment cheques bounced.

The money was in fact, used to pay debts and not a penny invested in any property. In an effort to disguise the real situation, Brudenell offered the victim a £200,000 bonus and supported this with a fake email purportedly exchanged between himself and a financial advisor authorising the transfer of £200,000. However the cheque for the bonus also bounced.

There followed a series of excuses from the defendant who then asked the victim for another £1.25m, with promises of further repayment, however, within weeks Brudenell was declared bankrupt and the victim never heard from him again.

In January 2009, Brudenell persuaded another acquaintance to loan him £400,000 in another deal involving repossessed property. Brudenell assured the victim that “he had yet to get a deal wrong and had a 100% record for integrity and honesty”.  

Once again this money was not invested in property, but instead used to pay off debts. As the deadline for repayment of the money approached, more excuses were given by Brudenell along with requests for further money, including £100,000 to invest in a Zimbabwean gold and diamond mine. Again, a fake email was sent to the victim adapted from a genuine email from a high street bank authorising payment of £500,000 as a gesture of goodwill.

No payment was forthcoming and the victim began legal proceedings against Brudenell to enforce the debt. Two further cheques made out to the victim for £150,000 and £350,000 bounced.

At this point the victim became aware of other creditors including the third victim in the case, with whom he joined bankruptcy proceedings against Brudenell.

During the course of those proceedings in September 2009, Brudenell faxed a fraudulently amended bank statement to the victim’s solicitors suggesting he had over £3m in a bank account, when in fact he was heavily overdrawn. Brudenell again promised payment but another cheque for £530,000 failed to clear. The victim never received a penny of what he had loaned Brudenell.

In March 2009, the third victim in the case, another friend of Brudenell loaned the defendant £240,000 on the promise of a quick profit property deal. He then suffered the same stream of excuses and fraudulent emails. Having received the loan, Brudenell confirmed the deal had been done and began to ask for further investment. Again trying to legitimise his requests using fabricated emails.

The victim declined to invest any further and received just £7,200 in interest back from Brudenell. A cheque for the repayment of the original investment of £240,000 failed to clear as did further supposed payments, prompting the victim to issue a statutory demand.

In response to this, Brudenell fraudulently amended a bank summary to show a balance of £2m and sent another fake email purporting to be from a bank employee confirming the transfer of £265,000 to the victim. The employee was in fact on holiday and no such transfer had been made.

During bankruptcy proceedings Brudenell swore on oath that he had access to finance under a freezing order and when lifted, would have sufficient funds to repay all loans. He was ordered by the judge to make arrangements for immediate payment on lifting of the order.

There were no such funds available and in the days which followed, another cheque for £530,000 in favour of the second victim was dishonoured.

The victims lost £600,000, £400,000 and £240,000 respectively.

The case was referred to North Yorkshire Police in 2010 by Cleveland Police and the Official Receiver’s Office in Hull who were dealing with Brudenell’s bankruptcy and through their investigations, believed that criminality had taken place.

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