Mon, 03 Sep 2012
A couple and an accountant who teamed up to use money from a fraudulent £10m investment scheme to fund a lavish lifestyle have been jailed.
John Hirst, 61, of Huddersfield Road, Brighouse, West Yorks, was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court to nine years for his part in the Ponzi scheme.
His estranged wife, Linda Hirst, 61, of Woking, Surrey, will serve two-and-a-half years for money laundering.
Richard Pollett, 70, of Poole, Dorset, was jailed for six-and-a-half years.
He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.
John Hirst pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and two counts of money laundering at the beginning of the trial.
Linda Hirst was found guilty of three counts of money laundering and one count of evading a liability by deception.
The court heard the couple, who are no longer together, enjoyed luxury holidays and lavish wedding celebrations in Las Vegas and Majorca with the proceeds of the scheme.
Judge Jonathan Durham-Hall QC said those targeted by the pair were mainly ordinary, hard-working people who put their pensions and savings into the scheme after being promised huge returns and a risk-free guarantee.
The judge said Hirst also tried to involve other members of his family in the scheme.
His solicitor son, Daniel Hirst, and Linda Hirst's daughter, Zoe Waite, were cleared of money laundering charges at the trial earlier this year.
Judge Durham-Hall said to John Hirst: "You wanted it all - get rich quick.
Sentencing Linda Hirst, the judge said: "You did, from June 2006 onwards, enjoy the most profligate of high standards of living, jet-setting here and there, cruises here and there, and, of course, Mr Hirst liberally showered you with money and jewels."
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