£840k Ponzi fraud ...but conman only has to repay £25k
A CONMAN who made £840,000 and battered one victim with a baseball bat was ordered to hand over just £25,000 yesterday.
Stewart Kennedy, 54, told investors a franchise in his business, which was a Ponzi scheme, was ‘the financial opportunity of a lifetime’.
But he used their money to fund a luxury lifestyle that included tickets to Rangers games, jewellery for his wife and trips to exclusive restaurants such as the Corinthian Club in Glasgow. He spent nearly £30,000 on two trips to the US and funded his son’s £1,400-a-month flat in London.
At a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court it emerged Kennedy had agreed to pay back £25,000 after prosecutors discovered he had made £840,000 through crime. Procurator fiscal depute
David McDonald said investigations into Kennedy’s finances showed ‘the benefit of his criminal conduct’ was £840,000, and that the ‘recoverable amount’ was £25,000.
Sheriff David Pender made a confiscation order in the sum of £25,000, giving Kennedy six months to hand over the cash.
Kennedy was jailed for four years in January last year but has already been released.
Victims of his scam included a cancer consultant, a former deputy head teacher and a former principal consultant with accounting firm KPMG.
Plumber Stuart Caldwell also paid £15,000 for a franchise and lent Kennedy £18,000 for a Sky TV advertising campaign.
But Mr Caldwell never received a penny back and, when he went to Kennedy’s home, in Quarrier’s Village, Renfrewshire, to find out what had happened to his investment, Kennedy battered him with a baseball bat.
Kennedy told investors they would receive a minimum of
‘I was grossly underpaid’
£4,600 per month for ten months as a return on each £15,000 sum they invested.
He charged clients a fee to restructure debts and said each franchisee would ‘own’ a postcode, securing them £575 for every completed debt rearrangement within the area.
Kennedy denied all wrongdoing during his month-long trial at Paisley Sheriff Court, and said: ‘I was grossly underpaid based on the hours I put in. I’m entitled, as the owner of the company, to take money to pay for bills and, the last time I looked, I don’t believe it’s a crime to go on holiday.’
However, a jury convicted him of two charges of fraud and one of assault over the baseball bat attack.