Tees

Financial adviser jailed over Teesside pensions fraud

A financial adviser who defrauded vulnerable and elderly clients on Teesside out of more than £300,000 has been jailed for three years.

Adrian Bancroft, 52, operated UK Expatriates from offices in Oxford Road, Middlesbrough.

Teesside Crown Court heard Bancroft, who now lives in Wrexham, pocketed cash meant for pension plans over a period of five years between 2003 and 2009.

He pleaded guilty to 18 charges of fraud and money laundering.

The court was told that one of Bancroft's victims was a 71-year-old man from Hartlepool who ended up losing his home.

Position of trust

Sentencing Bancroft, Recorder Neil Davey QC told him: "You caused massive harm.

"Your victims are not just names on a piece of paper, they are real people whose lives have been blighted."

After the hearing, Det Con Rachel Peake, of Cleveland Police, said: "Bancroft was in a position of trust, he has behaved in a dishonest manner showing a blatant disregard for his client's financial welfare.

"These clients went to Bancroft for advice, they trusted him implicitly and he betrayed that trust.

"I hope today's result sends a clear and concise message out that fraud is not a victimless crime, lives are dramatically affected by the criminal activity of people like Adrian Bancroft who are in a position of trust."

Cleveland Police said Bancroft's assets had been restrained using legislation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

An application for compensation is also being sought to reimburse his victims.

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