Jailed conman behind diamond fraud is told he must repay £350k

Jailed conman behind diamond fraud is told he must repay £350k

10/13/2020

Jailed conman, 51, who made £718,880 by selling pensioners ‘worthless coloured diamonds’ is told by judge he can either repay £350,000 or spend another four years behind bars

  • Gilbert King, 51, was jailed for six and a half years after complex diamond scam
  • Court heard King must hand over his available assets worth a total of £350,549 
  • Judge said King was ‘the money man’ responsible for financing fraud operation
  • King, with Stephen Rogers, 55, and Bobby Sales, 31, targeted elderly victims 

A convicted fraudster who swindled a fortune from pensioners by selling them ‘worthless coloured diamonds’ must repay £350,000 or serve another four years in jail.

Gilbert King, 51, along with Stephen Rogers, 57, and Bobby Sales, 33, fooled investors into purchasing what they thought were valuable gems through a sham company.

Customers were duped into spending tens of thousands of pounds as they were repeatedly reassured by the con men their investments were ‘doing well’. 

But company records show that only one diamond was ever purchased on behalf of a client – who was billed £10,000 when the actual value of the gemstone was just £750.

In total, ten people lost £613,580. 

King was jailed for six and a half years while Sales was locked up for four years and Rodgers was jailed for three and a half years in August 2018.

Gilbert King, pictured leaving court in 2018, has been ordered by a judge to pay back more than £350,000 after he was part of a gang who tricked elderly investors with a diamond scam

Judge Phillip Bartle, QC, ruled that King had benefited by £718,880 and must repay £350,549 or serve four more years in prison in default.

Judge Bartle said: ‘Mr King was convicted by a unanimous jury of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

‘Mr King played a leading role in what can be described as a high-pressure selling organisation.

‘Selling worthless coloured diamonds to largely vulnerable elderly people who were pressured to invest in coloured diamonds.

‘The fraud involved something like 20 others, including one Christopher Lee who is yet to be further apprehended and one Sales and Rogers.’

The con men’s website boasted of over 80 years of combined experience in the diamond trade.

The company also claimed to have offices in Brazil, Thailand and New York.

Buyers were provided with GIA, (Gemological Institute of America) industry standard diamond certificates pulled straight from the GIA’s website.

They claimed the diamonds would be stored in deposit boxes in Hatton Garden and then sold on by the company.

Two of the fraudsters took huge amounts of cocaine and alcohol as their outrageous claims of the investment potential of the stones continued.

Judge Bartle added: ‘The fraud lasted roughly nine months and yielded something like £750,000 from the investors I have mentioned.

‘I set aside the expenses of the fraud from Mr King’s available amount and am only concerned with the cash that Mr King accepts he made and, in short, has disappeared.

‘Mr King at the time had his day-to-day expenses paid by housing benefits and job seekers allowance.

‘He spirited away that money in what is classically described as hidden assets.’

King claimed he gave the profits to Graham Franks, but no trace of anyone using that name could be found linked to the company, Stockdale Alternative.

‘Mr King was solely responsible in financing that fraud, he was indeed the money man,’ said Judge Bartle.

‘Mr Franks is a name which Mr King has made up in order to conceal his hidden assets.’

Stephen Rogers, pictured, was an accomplice of Gilbert King and part of the gang who pretended they could buy diamonds in Africa and Asia and sell them on for a profit in China.

Prosecutor Mark Seymour said: ‘It was in the nature of what was going on to find those that were vulnerable.

‘Some of the people who lost out were old. Some of them described the extreme effects that this fraud had on their lives.

‘When victims tried to realise their investments by instructing Stockdale Alternative to sell their diamonds, most were offered excuses or delaying tactics.’

King and Rodgers denied, but were convicted of fraud while Sales admitted his role in the scam.

King, of Waverly Grove, Finchley, denied but was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud and transferring criminal property.

Rogers, of Links Road, Tooting, denied one count of conspiracy to commit fraud but was found guilty by a unanimous verdict.

Sales, of Brighton Road, South Croydon, admitted one count of conspiracy to commit fraud back in January, 2018.

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