Former financial advisor sentenced to two years in prison after admitting stealing from trusted clients
November 11, 2014, 12:50 pm
A financial advisor who duped trusting clients out of almost £200,000 is sentenced to two years in prison.
Geoffrey Fincher, 72, from Altrincham Road, Wilmslow, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 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.
He asked for a nine counts of similar offences to lie on file.
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Fincher was sentenced on 10 November 2014 at Chester Crown Court to two years in prison.
Until December 2013 Fincher was the director of two companies, one of which was SK8 financial Services Ltd based in Heald Green in Cheadle, which was subject to this investigation. The company provided financial advice to the public, but had no authority to hold client funds.
One couple, who were now in their 80s had enlisted his services between 1984 to 2011.
It was only when their daughter was not satisfied with the returns on the investments that she called in her husband’s financial advisor for a second opinion. The advisor expressed concerns regarding two investments listed. On enquiry to both companies, the advisor discovered there were no records of any accounts with them.
DC Jackie Nolan from Cheshire Police Economic Crime Unit took on the investigation. She said: “When the Economic Crime Unit were asked to look into this in 2013 and more victims were identified. 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.”
“Fincher was a family friend and a longstanding friend at that, knowing most of his victims for decades.
“He abused their trust to gain access to their life savings. All but two of the victims involved in this case have since been reimbursed. But the shock and disbelief has left them scarred by their experience. The stress of discovering your future security has vanished must be traumatic and not knowing if you would ever get your life savings back, made it a truly stressful and frightening time for them.”
Speaking in the victim’s impact statement, the daughter of another elderly couple said: “Geoff Fincher had slowly wheedled his way into their life over the last 30 years becoming a friend and somebody they trusted implicitly to take care of their financial affairs.
“My mother is full of disbelief, aghast at his nerve, outraged and incensed as to how somebody could so easily dupe them – so terribly upset and so embarrassed as to her own stupidity, as she sees it. A very sad situation at her time in life when she had done her best to save for her children and her future.”
Hamilton Ashworth, husband of one of Fincher’s victims said: “My wife and I are pleased that justice has been done and would like to express my personal thanks to the Police & Crime Commissioner who I contacted to express my concern when I believed that the criminal would escape justice. I believe we are indeed fortunate that as victims we can turn to The Police & Crime Commissioner when we are concerned about the actions being taken.”
John Dwyer, Police & Crime Commissioner added: ” This case demonstrates that victims of crime can talk to me when they are concerned about the criminal justice process and I will listen and take action to ensure that they are dealt with appropriately. I am delighted that Mr & Mrs Ashworth came to me and that justice has been done.”
Gary Simpson, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service has worked on the case from the beginning and authorised the charges.
He 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.
“Many of his clients were elderly and some were friends but he callously took their money and used it for his own ends.
“It would appear that earlier in his career Fincher was law abiding. We may never know what made him turn to crime and ruin his name but his reputation is now in shreds and he has only himself to blame.”