A retired Warwick woman who was swindled out of more than £400,000 in an investment scam is to receive less than £53,000 in compensation for the money she lost.
And the man behind the fraud, who is serving a prison sentence of four years and eight months, will have to pay back just £1 - because it has been agreed he has no assets.
Christopher Butler, 32, of Southbrook Drive, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to conspiring to defraud the 67-year-old between September 2010 and February 2013.
His uncle Raymond Butler, 48, of Crossbrook Street, Cheshunt, was jailed for ten months, and taxi driver Ozalp Djemal, 59, of Charnwood Road, Enfield, Middlesex, for nine months after they had admitted acquiring criminal property.
Following investigations into the men’s finances, Raymond Butler and Djemal, who have served their sentences, returned to the court for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Christopher Butler was still in custody during the hearing and decided not to attend.
Prosecutor Ben Close explained Christopher Butler’s benefit from his fraudulent activity had been £426,619, but that he had no available assets.
So Judge Andrew Lockhart QC ordered that a nominal £1 be confiscated from him, explaining by making even a nominal order it means further amounts can be confiscated if he receives any assets in the future.
He ordered Raymond Butler to pay £46,496 within three months or face three years in jail. And Djemal was ordered to pay £6,500 within two months or face a four-month jail sentence.
Previously the court had heard that Christopher Butler had met the retired Warwick woman when he worked as a salesman with a wine merchant of which she was a client.
Butler persuaded her to invest, through him, in commodities other than wine.
She dealt with him, believing he had businesses called Advanced Global Trading and Charles Sinclair Associates, and he told her that her money was being invested in a commodities fund.
An initial amount of £20,000 was transferred from her NatWest account to an account nominated by him in December 2010, followed by another £20,000 in January 2011.
There were then a number of further payments between then and the end of June that year.
But in fact the money was being paid into his own bank accounts or those of Raymond Butler and Djemal.
The woman was persuaded the fund was growing and that more payments were needed to ‘reach the next level.’
When she became concerned about the lack of pay-outs, she was told another £20,000 was needed to release the fund, which she made – and she invested even more after someone posing as a senior member of the commodities firm reassured her the money was safe.
Eventually the woman became so concerned she confided in her daughter and son-in-law who contacted the fraud squad.
But even then Christopher Butler managed to persuade her that account costs of £13,500 had to be paid for her contributions to end.
He continued to trick her into paying even more amounts, and by the time he was arrested his victim had paid out a total of £476,619 from various accounts held by her and her family.
Of that £133,700 was paid into an account held by Raymond Butler and around £67,000 into Djemal’s account, most of which it was said was then transferred to Christopher Butler.