Conman who ran a Ponzi scheme tricking rich investors jailed for nine years
A scammer who ran a pyramid scheme, tricking wealthy investors into pumping around £25million into his company so he could live a luxurious lifestyle with his wife, has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
Rhys Williams, 41, and his wife Lisa, 40, from Llangristiolus, Anglesey, Wales, have spent money renting two Spanish homes including a six-bedroom mansion, Middle Eastern holidays, shopping and nightclubs.
He wore Rolex watches, smoked Cuban cigars and posed with guns while his wife carried designer handbags and expensive jewelry on the streets of Marbella.
Birmingham Crown Court heard Mr Williams ran a Ponzi scheme where he enticed wealthy investors to pump around £25million into his company.
Rhys Williams, 41, and his wife Lisa, 40, from Llangristiolus, Anglesey, Wales, have spent money renting two Spanish homes including a six-bedroom mansion, Middle Eastern holidays, shopping and nightclubs
Rhys Williams was jailed for nine years and Lisa Williams was sentenced to 16 months probation for two years
But instead of trading the money to grow, the payouts to shareholders were funded by their own deposits and the Williamses spent their money.
Rhys Williams was jailed for nine years and Lisa Williams was sentenced to 16 months probation for two years.
Prosecutor Andrew Haslam KC said: “The rest of the money was spent living the high life in Spain. They had spent all the money within a few months.’
Mr Haslam said the couple bought a £60,000 Audi Q7 and sent £29,000 to the sister of Ms Williams’ mother of three.
Williams wore Rolex watches, smoked Cuban cigars and posed with guns
They also spent £46,000 on shopping, £9,000 on restaurants and nightclubs, £7,000 on holiday accommodation and £7,000 on international school fees.
One of their two homes in Spain was a six-bedroom mansion “with stunning views” called La Quinta, where they employed a maid and a nanny.
One victim, Michael McVicar, believed Williams was “in control of his funds on a daily basis” after transferring £179,000 to his company.
But the couple spent almost all of the money in just seven months and when he asked for it back, Williams told him it was gone.
In a statement on the victim’s impact, Mr McVicar said the couple continued to flaunt their lavish lifestyle even after his arrest.
He said: “They are wasting their stolen funds for all to see. They can destroy other people’s lives and still go on living their reprehensible lives without accountability.’
Before moving to Spain, Williams had operated a care home through his then company, Rhys Williams Developments Ltd, but was declared bankrupt.
Rhys Williams admitted to acquiring, possessing or using criminal property and fraud.
Lisa Williams admitted to owning criminal property at Birmingham Crown Court.
Birmingham Crown Court heard Mr Williams ran a Ponzi scheme where he enticed wealthy investors to pump around £25million into his company
The couple spent £46,000 on groceries and £9,000 on restaurants and nightclubs
Lee Marklew KC, defending Mr Williams, said he had a “feel for math” who was a “self-made millionaire” in his mid-twenties before going into debt.
He said: “The source of his crime was an overwhelming desire to save face and care for those around him as he once did.”
Christopher Millington KC, defending his wife, said she was “devastated and ashamed” of her actions.
Four other suspects have been jailed with the Williams for their role in the multi-million pound scam.
Williams’ business partner Jason Curtis, 53, of Abersoch, Gwynedd, admitted possession of £630,000 in criminal property and the £199,000 theft from Mr McVicar.
The court heard he lived “the high life”, buying cars, a boat and jet skis and paying £21,000 for a box at the FA Cup final, and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Jamie Halfpenny, 46, from Hampshire, has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for fraud by misrepresenting £1.15million.
Solicitor Jonathan Denton, 63, of Telford, has been sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison for fraud by breach of trust totaling £7,469,000 and also fraud by misrepresentation totaling £18,414,884.
Susan Gillis, 54, of Warwick Avenue, London, has been jailed for seven years and six months for being involved in a £7million criminal property deal.