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Fraudster jailed for six-and-a-half years

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A fraudster from Bath has been jailed for six-and-a-half years after he secured more than £4.5million in spread betting which he achieved in part by defrauding people.

Jeff Arundell, 75, was convicted of multiple offences, including fraud and money laundering, in relation to financial business he carried out in 2016 and 2017.

He also was sentenced for a separate fraud offence in which he used power of attorney to take approximately £260,000 that belonged to his now late-mother. With that sum he bought a Bentley car and increased his spread betting efforts.

Arundell, of Sion Hill in Lansdown, invited a friend in November 2016 to join him in investing in what he claimed to be a guaranteed money-making investment. He stated he had information that shares in a pharmaceutical company were set to significantly increase in value in the coming weeks.

He promised the friend – and his friend’s family members who also invested – that he would personally guarantee their stake money if he was wrong. In total he received about £100,000 to invest on their behalf.

In early December 2016 Arundell placed the money on numerous trades of spread betting, but told the victims within weeks that he had lost their money and did not have the funds to repay them as per the guarantee he made.

It was later discovered by the police Arundell had indeed profited on some of the trades he had placed in December 2016 using their money, but lied about it to them. From the winnings, he continued to trade and place further bets, which in turn attributed to the £4.6million windfall he had accumulated by August 2017.

The friend and his family reported the matter in January 2017 and a police investigation was carried out.

Arundell claimed to police that when he placed the trades in December 2016, he could indeed have repaid the guarantee, as he had received approximately £100,000 in inheritance from his late-mother’s estate earlier that year.  

However, this was investigated as a separate fraud, as it was discovered he had taken his mother’s money, while holding a power of attorney for her some years before. By taking the money while she was alive, he had deprived other family members from inheriting from her estate upon her death.

Arundell was convicted of three counts of fraud by false representation and one of money laundering at Bristol Crown Court on Monday 30 October, in relation to £86,000’s worth of money he received from his friend and their family. He was found not guilty of a fourth count of fraud by false representation relating to the rest of the money he received.

He was also separately charged with fraud by abuse of position in respect of the handling of his late-mother’s finances in early-2020. He was convicted of this offence in April 2021.

Arundell was sentenced for a total of six-and-a-half years in prison for all five offences at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday 31 October). An application has been made under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recoup money he gained from his criminality.

The friend who lost money in the fraud said Arundell had ‘got what he deserved’ and added: “He caused myself and my family a lot of grief and heartache.” 

Dr Kirstie Cogram, manager of the serious and organised crime investigation team, said: “We are pleased to secure five guilty verdicts against Arundell following what has been a long drawn out investigation into his fraudulent behaviour.

“Arundell portrayed himself as an experienced trader in the financial markets. He seemingly thought little of defrauding his own family by taking cash from his elderly mother, nor using money from a friend and their family to bankroll his spread betting efforts.

“His actions were deplorable and made all the worse for his victims by misleading officers and refusing to admit to what he had done, meaning two trials were required.

“While these verdicts and prison sentence will no doubt be welcomed by his victims, they do not take away from what they have been through.

“A proceeds of crime hearing will take place at a letter date to ensure he does not profit from his offending; his assets are currently frozen pending that decision. We hope this will provide his victims with some financial recompense.”