Adviser jailed for stealing £200k from clients
Geoffrey Fincher, a director at SK8 Financial Services and North Cheshire Associates until last year, was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on 10 November after earlier admitting to 22 charges involving seven victims.
The charges comprised eight counts of fraud, seven counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, two counts of theft and five counts of making or supplying an article for use in fraud.
Fincher, 72, asked for nine counts of similar offences to remain on file.
According to Cheshire Police, the offences for which Fincher was jailed related to his work for SK8, which was prevented from conducting regulated business by the Financial Conduct Authority last December.
That action was due to concerns customers of SK8 who gave money to Fincher to be invested “may not have valid investments”.
Prosecutor Gary Simpson said Fincher cheated long-standing and trusting clients out of thousands of pounds over several years.
“When his clients asked about their investments, he produced false documents to back up his criminality or offered to pay some of the money back,” he said.
Two of Fincher’s victims were a couple now in their 80s, who had enlisted his services between 1984 to 2011.
According to Cheshire Police, it was only when their daughter was not satisfied with the returns on the investments that she called in her husband’s financial adviser for a second opinion. The adviser expressed concerns regarding two investments listed and, on enquiry to both companies, discovered there were no records of any accounts with them.
Jackie Nolan from Cheshire Police Economic Crime Unit said: “When [we] were asked to look into this in 2013… it was discovered that Fincher had been abusing his trust and pretending to put money into investments, but in some cases had been keeping the money himself, which he had no authority to do.”
The court was told Fincher had returned funds to five of the seven clients affected. According to the BBC, his barrister claimed he never intended to keep the money and had used it as “an unofficial loan”.