A man who got Portsmouth businessmen to invest over £ 100,000 in a “lavish lifestyle” avoids jail


David Gilbert sent fake screenshots and WhatsApp messages showing the success of the foreign trade investment between 2016-17 before he was caught after losing over £ 40,000 in client money and not even investing £ 16,000.

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Police arrest a man for attempted kidnapping

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the 34-year-old target a Portsmouth businessman who had just sold his £ 1 million business.

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In September 2016, Gilbert convinced the business acquaintance that he could bring the couple equal profits by investing in foreign trading company FXCM after spending a year as an apprentice.

An initial deposit of nearly £ 10,000 was made to Gilbert which he deposited into his personal bank account. He then sent a WhatsApp message revealing that the investment had made a profit of £ 2,500, which was “not true,” said prosecutor Alex Kettle-Williams.

Further approaches for the investor resulted in them handing over additional amounts including £ 35,000 in November 2016.

In total, the customer deposited £ 73,134 with the defendant.

“Screenshots were sent of supposed success, but all the money was lost,” said the prosecutor.

Gilbert of Mayfield Avenue in Totton asked the businessman if he knew anyone else who might be interested in the company before introducing a friend from Portsmouth who invested £ 35,000 in three installments in 2017.

Money was again deposited into Gilbert’s personal account with “fake” screenshot updates of apparent success.

Amid growing fears about their investments after failing to receive the profits, the men eventually held Gilbert for a meeting after “much hunting”.

“There was no explanation of where the money was going,” said Ms. Kettle-Williams.

Bankruptcy proceedings were then initiated by both men against Gilbert, who was also arrested. “He denied a lavish lifestyle, but accepted that he had made false statements about profitability,” said the prosecutor.

She added: “The defendant had a lifestyle that was beyond his means. Vehicles he had bought and high-end motorcycles showed what he could afford from the fraud. ‘

Gary Venturi, who defended himself, said Gilbert did not engage in fraudulent behavior. “This was a real effort to act, but his enthusiasm and confidence in his abilities were wrong and he was unable to handle it if it went wrong,” he said.

‘The defendant said he was “an inherently good person” … the court might raise an eyebrow. However, this was not motivated solely by greed.

“He has tried to make payments to the victims where he can.”

The court was told that Gilbert had repaid nearly £ 34,000 to his victims, but that just under £ 15,000 was still owed.

Recorder Hannah Willcocks said, “The police investigation revealed a lavish lifestyle, although you deny it, but you admit to sending fake WhatsApp messages.

“You were placed in a position of trust and it lasted for a long time and caused significant financial and emotional damage.

“You paid back a lot of money, even though it happened after the bankruptcy proceedings were initiated. You lost friends and those who trusted you. ‘

Gilbert, who admitted two misrepresentation fraud cases from September 2016 to November 2017, was immediately spared jail after having had no relevant previous convictions and not insulting him in the past three years.

Instead, he was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 20 days of rehabilitation.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron

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