A Blackburn fraudster has been jailed for six years after fleecing hundreds of victims into investing £19 million into a scheme he operated.

On February 19, Guy Flintham pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation, following a prosecution brought by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Between January 2016 and November 2021, Flintham, 46, of Whinney Lane, Blackburn, defrauded more than 240 investors by making false representations to persuade them to invest approximately £19m in an investment scheme operated by him.

Among these representations was the claim that he was a successful trader: in reality he was not.

He lied about how the scheme was operated and the profits that he was making for his investors. He sent them falsified trading statements which showed healthy returns.

Any money that was paid out to them as returns was money received from other investors - or their own investment paid back to them.

Only £1.14m was ever placed into trading accounts by Flintham, with a further £10m paid back to investors as ‘profits’ or withdrawals of capital.

Flintham spent substantial sums on an extravagant lifestyle, including more than £1m on vehicles, personalised number plates, jewellery and designer goods.

Appearing at Southwark Crown Court in London on Friday, May 17, Flintham was jailed for six years.

In sentencing, His Honour Judge Milne said: 'The fraud [in this case] relates to money being taken from friends, from family.

"It relates to people you know, who you met… you took money from them having looked them in the eye and no doubt shaken their hand.

"I read the victim impact statements, they are heartbreaking... over and over again I read of the devastation left in the wake of [the fraud you perpetrated].

"People were devastated by what has happened; people’s lives have been irrevocably damaged."

Steve Smart, joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: 'Over a five-year period, Flintham deliberately lied and misled people to persuade them to invest in what amounted to little more than a Ponzi scheme.

"The sentence imposed today demonstrates the seriousness of Flintham’s offending and is a warning to others who choose to engage in fraud.

The FCA has begun confiscation proceedings against Flintham, with a hearing due to take place on July 18.

Available assets were secured at an early stage of the investigation by the FCA under the Proceeds of Crime Act so they would be available for confiscation.

A further count of carrying on regulated activity without authorisation or exemption, contrary to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, was ordered to lie on file.