TWO conmen who fleeced £3.25m from their 24 investors have been jailed for a six-and-a-half years each.
Andrew Jelley, 37, and Joseph Nunn, 42, were locked up for carrying out the five-year property scam that saw several investors lose their homes.
Based at the Royal Naval Club in Pembroke Road, Old Portsmouth, the pair conned people into signing their homes over and making massive investments with ‘guaranteed’ returns of up to 15 per cent a year.
The pair failed to make interest payments on the investments and were gambling heavily online – sometimes up to £30,000 a day.
Nunn, of Corsham in Wiltshire, lost £1.74m through gambling between 2004 and 2009, with Jelley, of Broad Street in Old Portsmouth, losing £280,000 in the same period.
Only about £80,000 of the money has ever been recovered.
Both men had pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the 24 investors, whilst Jelley was charged with two more counts of obtaining money through fraudulent mortgage applications and Nunn was charged with six further similar offences.
However, at Portsmouth Crown Court, Judge Sarah Munro ruled that both men were equally to blame, as Jelley had introduced the majority of their victims to the scheme, but it was Nunn’s name on more of the paperwork.
She accepted that the scheme had started out honestly, but said it was ‘doomed to failure as the new investors ran out’, and the duo then gave nothing but ‘empty promises’.
Judge Munro said: ‘You were both prepared to lie your way out of trouble – fobbing off questions, avoiding calls and blaming each other, all whilst gambling huge sums of money that wasn’t yours.
‘I hope the message goes out that if it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is and I’m sure the 24 investors would almost certainly agree.’
Detective Constable Craig Rainsley said of the two-year investigation: ‘The court has imposed the biggest sentence they could, and it reflects the scope of their crimes, but it doesn’t replace the money their victims lost.
‘These were people they thought they could trust.’