A FORMER RBS banker was today facing jail after losing nearly £500,000 of investors’ money in a series of illegal property deals.
Bob Quigley duped his victims into parting with their savings by promising returns of up to 50 per cent over five years.
The 46-year-old claimed his buy-to-let business, Lothian Property Portfolios, would make them big profits from booming land and property markets.
But when house prices collapsed, he realised his scam was doomed and texted investors to say: “Truly sorry to tell you that I don’t think I can go on like this. Goodnight, and God bless.”
The court heard Quigley worked as a financial adviser with Royal Bank of Scotland from 2001 to 2003.
The shamed banker pled guilty on indictment yesterday to illegally accepting cash deposits without being regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
After leaving RBS, Quigley and his wife founded a buy-to-let firm to invest in property in the West Lothian area.
Prosector Kevin Drugan told Livingston Sheriff Court the accused was approached by brother-in-law Mark Baxter who gave him £50,000 to invest.
Then Peter Noon, a friend of Quigley’s sister, handed over nearly £153,000 after Quigley promised to “sort him out”.
Mr Drugan said the scheme started to unravel when Mr Noon demanded to know if the mortgage rate charged on his portfolio had been reduced to 0.5 per cent, in line with market rates.
Mr Noon was sent the “God Bless” text message in June 2009, and was advised that the value of the investment properties – if sold – would not meet the mortgages secured against them.
John Lithgow, who invested £30,000 in development land in the Galashiels area, received the same message. The biggest losers were Timothy Rice, a member of Quigley’s gym, and his mother Sarah, who between them ploughed £240,000 into Quigley’s unauthorised investments. Mr Drugan said: “It’s been accepted by Mr Quigley that the investors have not received their money back.”
Defence solicitor Lorenzo Alonzi said Quigley had worked as an investment manager at various RBS branches in West Lothian, advising clients with “significant balances” of money.
He said: “There was clearly no intention to leave these people high and dry. He suffered as a result of the crash in the market.”
Quigley admitted accepting a total of £470,000 between October 2006 and February 2009 from five investors. His £200,000 detached home in upmarket Deer Park, Livingston, is up for sale.
Quigley was said to have had between 20 and 30 properties. It is understood many have been repossessed and the tenants evicted because of mortgage defaults.
Mr Noon, 36, from Livingston, who lost his life savings, said: “He still can’t give me a straight answer as to where our money went. When the penny dropped that I wouldn’t be seeing any money, my whole body was on fire with rage.”
Sheriff Susan Craig deferred sentence for reports and released Quigley on bail.