A fraudster who repeatedly deceived clients to fund his lavish lifestyle has been jailed for his £3 million scam.
Duncan Grant, 54, of Chillies Lane, Crowborough was jailed at Lewes Crown Court by Judge Martin Huseyin on Thursday 1 June.
He pleaded guilty on Tuesday 9 May to a series of fraud and directorship offences.
Sussex Police said today (Tuesday 20 June): “Over a period of six years, Grant orchestrated a complex and large-scale fraud operation, convincing numerous individuals to invest in his cash spoiling device company, Patronus, and in purchasing ATMs to recondition.
“This was a legitimate enterprise. However, he invested only a fraction of the money he received into the company and did not purchase any ATMs.
“Of the approximate £3.8 million collected, just £549,000 was used by the company.
“The rest of the money was used to fund his and his wife’s lavish lifestyle of holidays, jewellery and luxury £1million-plus rented homes and cars.
“Grant conned people into giving him money by befriending them and then latching on to something in common, whether true or fictitious, to build a closer relationship.
“He further used his parents’ illnesses to gain sympathy from his victims, claiming he needed financial assistance to care for them.
“An investigation by Surrey Police and Sussex Police’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU) into Grant’s fraudulent activity began in December 2019 after several victim reports were made to Sussex Police.
“It revealed he had previously been bankrupt and changed his name twice before being made bankrupt again, all while acting as a director of 16 companies.
“Officers, analysts and partner agencies, including the Insolvency Service and HM Passport Office, worked through mobile phones, iPads, laptops and around 2,500 emails and 3,000 paper exhibits to uncover the intricacies of Grant’s actions.
“The ECU were able to demonstrate the back and forth layering of the monies between Grant’s accounts, done in order to make tracing the routes of the funds difficult.
“Grant was charged with 18 counts of fraud and 18 counts of directorship offences in October 2021 and has now been sentenced to 12 years and six months’ imprisonment.”
Detective Constable Fleur Jones, of the Surrey and Sussex Economic Crime Unit, said: “This was a complex investigation where Grant had moved monies between many bank accounts in order to try to obfuscate where over £3 million of victims’ money disappeared to.
“One of the things I felt was important was to be able to tell those victims exactly what their money was spent on by Grant.
“Between us, my team were able to trace the journey of each person’s money through numerous accounts and transactions until we found that it had been spent, among other things, on rentals for luxury homes, fast cars, jewellery, Rolex watches, holidays and expensive meals in top restaurants.
“Grant lived a life that many could only dream of, using other people’s money that they had invested in him in good faith, thinking he was either using it to develop a business or that he was helping his elderly parents.
“In convicting Grant, we worked tirelessly to obtain justice for these victims, many of whom thought were his friend.”