Gambler jailed for £150k fraud

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A BOGUS financial advisor who conned a grandmother-of-four out of her £150,000 retirement pot to fund his gambling addiction has been jailed for more than two years.

Ryan Burnside, 35, told mental health officer Margaret Gallivan that he was investing her life savings overseas, when in fact he was spending them at casinos.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard Burnside, 35, created a fantasy life to entice Mrs Gallivan, 62, to trust him with her wealth, lying about having large plots of land, fancy cars, and even inventing a wife and children.

He did not tell her the truth about his employment status when he was dismissed from his firm for “financial irregularities”.

Mrs Gallivan will now have to work on past her planned retirement date, no longer has any savings and has had to take in a lodger.

Sheriff William Gilchrist said Burnside had committed a “gross breach of trust”, as he jailed him for two years and four months yesterday.

Mrs Gallivan said she was “too upset” to comment following sentencing.

She had received a six- figure divorce settlement after the sale of her marital home, and Burnside was her advisor for six weeks before he was sacked from his post as a senior financial advisor at investment firm Albannach on November 12, 2008.

Prosecuting, Fiona Caldwell said the Financial Services Authority (FSA) was informed of the circumstances and he should not have set up as a financial advisor himself.

But Burnside began working with Mrs Gallivan again, after he lied and said that the FSA told him he could work again.

In the following months he told her that her investments were doing badly, and that he would transfer the money into a Lithuanian account he had, as it would be “more profitable”.

He was eventually snared by Mrs Gallivan’s son, Tom, who found out Burnside should not have been working. Burnside was then arrested and admitted he had a gambling problem.

Burnside, of Nettlehill Road, Uphall Station, West Lothian, admitted that between November 12, 2008 and April 20, 2010, at Mrs Gallivan’s home in Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan, he pretended he was an independent financial advisor. He admitted telling her that he would make investments on her behalf and that he obtained £150,000 by fraud.

His solicitor, Frazer McCready, said Burnside had enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, earning £75,000 a year, before he started having problems with gambling in 2005.

He was left with debts in excess of £40,000, and used the victim’s cash to try to resolve this.

He said: “He tried to gamble more of her money to try and get it back, after racking up such large losses, but he was effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Mrs Gallivan said last month that Burnside had used her as a “cash machine”. She said: “I would have retired by now if it weren’t for what he’s done.

“I feel quite foolish now that I fell for it all. He told me lie after lie. He has no wife, no expensive house, no expensive cars and no children.

“He’s been so manipulative.”