Accountant is sent to jail

Geoffrey Langdale.
Geoffrey Langdale.
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A trusted accountant has been jailed after conning clients out of £2.3 million in a “get rich quick” scam.

Between 2002 and 2013, Geoffrey Langdale organised what is known as a ‘Ponzi’ scheme, involving victims who invested various amounts of money ranging from £10,000 to £260,850.

Langdale told the victims that their money would be invested into an ‘umbrella’ account with high interest rates of a legitimate company which was a subsidiary of a well-known high street bank.

In total, he received £2,333,487.57 in investments from his victims, only returning £1,150,840.59 to some of them, with a total of £1,182,646.98 still owed to the others.

Langdale’s victims lived as far apart as Preston, Lancaster, Bentham, Ingleton, Doncaster, Penrith, Windermere, Buxton, Colwyn Bay, Bury, Carnforth and Felixstowe.

Debra Chan, senior crown prosecutor in the CPS said: “Over a period of 11 years Geoffrey Langdale abused his position as a trusted accountant while his victims, reassured by the reputation of his longstanding accountancy practice, were encouraged to invest money in his fraudulent “Ponzi” scheme.

“This conviction highlights Geoffrey Langdale’s dishonesty and the blatant disregard for the welfare of his clients.”

Detective Sergeant Andy Kenyon of North Yorkshire Police’s major fraud team, said: “Geoffrey Langdale was a trusted accountant in a small community and used his position to commit fraud.

“His dishonesty has had a lasting impact on many victims whose financial future has now been left in ruins and they are now facing financial hardship as a result of these crimes.”

Langdale, 63, of Springfield, Bentham, North Yorkshire, was sentenced to six years imprisonment at Bradford Crown Court after pleading guilty to obtaining a money transfer by deception and fraud.

Ponzi schemes are ‘get rich quick’ investment scams which pay returns to investors from their own money, or from money paid in by subsequent investors.