Liverpool

'Playboy' financial adviser jailed for £4.5m fraud

Neil Bartlett Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Neil Bartlett "schmoozed you with his charm", according to one of his victims

A financial adviser who conned £4.5m from life-long friends and family to blow on "high-class prostitutes" in Russia and stock market gambling has been jailed for eight years.

Neil Bartlett lavished £180,000 on two escorts alone and jetted off to New York and the Maldives.

At Liverpool Crown Court, the 53-year-old admitted 14 counts of fraud.

Bartlett, of Ainsdale, Merseyside, claimed to be investing his victims' pensions and life savings, police said.

He took £600,000 from one woman alone.

Judge Alan Conrad admonished him for "living the life of a millionaire" on his victims' cash.

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He said: "You were gambling away a large part of the money entrusted to you, while maintaining a playboy lifestyle with expensive prostitutes and luxury foreign travel.

"You even boasted in messages to people of the debauched life that you were living."

'Morally devoid'

Detectives said he had defrauded a vulnerable elderly woman after gaining power of attorney.

One victim said "chameleon" Bartlett "schmoozed you with his charm" but has "no conscience" and is "morally devoid".

Bartlett flew to Russia earlier this year, where he splashed out on expensive hotels and sex workers.

Following a tip-off, Bartlett - who asked for 14 further fraud offences to be taken into consideration - was arrested at Manchester Airport on 27 November.

Det Sgt Christopher Hawitt of Merseyside Police said: "Bartlett thought of nobody but himself and furnishing his excessive lifestyle with the money he took from those who trusted him most."

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