Man convicted of ‘Ponzi’ investment scheme, taking £2.3 million from 28 victims

26 September 2014

Geoffrey Langdale of Bentham, North Yorkshire, has (Thursday 25 September 2014) been sentenced to six years at Bradford Crown Court after he was found guilty of running a ‘Ponzi’ investment scheme.

Mr Langdale is aged 63 and from Springfield, Bentham, North Yorkshire. His victims lived in Bentham, Ingleton, Lancaster, Doncaster, Penrith, Windermere, Preston, Buxton, Colwyn Bay, Bury, Carnforth and Felixtowe.

Detective Sergeant Andy Kenyon of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud Team, said: Geoffrey Langdale was a trusted accountant in a small community and used his position to commit fraud. His dishonesty has had a lasting impact on many victims whose financial future has now been left in ruins and they are now facing financial hardship as a result of these crimes.

Between 2002 and 2013, Mr Langdale organised what is known as a ‘Ponzi’ investment scheme, involving 28 victims who invested various amounts of money ranging from £10,000 to £260,850.

Mr Langdale told the victims that their money would be invested into an ‘umbrella’ account with high interest rates of a legitimate company which was a subsidiary of a well-known high street bank. In total, Mr Langdale received £2,333,487.57 in investments from his victims, only returning £1,150,840.59 to some of them, with a total of £1,182,646.98 still owed to the others.

Debra Chan, Senior Crown Prosecutor in the CPS said: Over a period of 11 years Geoffrey Langdale abused his position as a trusted accountant while his victims, reassured by the reputation of his long-standing accountancy practice, were encouraged to invest money in his fraudulent “Ponzi” scheme.

He fooled genuine investors by producing fraudulent documents and forging company logos to imply their money was safe. Instead of investing his clients’ money as promised, he used more than £1m to prop up his own companies including investing in a chemical company that later collapsed.

As his debt spiralled out of control, he simply encouraged more and more people to invest in the scam.

This conviction highlights Geoffrey Langdale’s dishonesty and the blatant disregard for the welfare of his clients.

Geoffrey Langdale pleaded guilty to:

  • Count 1 – Obtaining a money transfer by deception, contrary to section 15A of the Theft Act 1968
  • Count 2 – Fraud, contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006

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