A compulsive gambler who swindled clients out of more than £750,000 by offering incredible deals on high profile sporting events has been jailed for three years and four months.
James Edward Maxwell, 41, of Horsham, who ran three Sittingbourne-based sports memorabilia and hospitality companies, spun a staggering web of lies in order to persuade wealthy clients and charities to hand over cash, including claims that his young son had been diagnosed with cancer, say Kent Police.
The conman, formerly of Leigh Road, Sittingbourne, was involved with three businesses selling sports memorabilia – The Autograph Store in High Street, Sports Idols on St George’s Business Park, and Premier Signings and Hospitality Ltd, registered at Velum Drive.
They are no longer in operation.
From 2009, he defrauded customers out of thousands of pounds by asking them to transfer cash into the business account for goods but giving them his own personal bank details, taking cash and using funds in the business account as his own. Maxwell also assumed the identity of one of his colleagues, unbeknownst to them, and made up other aliases to protect his own reputation and convince clients they were dealing with a larger company.
Kent Police said he manipulated friends and customers into investing into Sports Idols and Premier Signings and Hospitality by professing cash flow troubles and promising paybacks with interest – but the refunds rarely materialised and, when they did, were often followed by another plea for a loan.
Maxwell offered a multitude of packages for some of the most famous sports events in the world in 2010 and 2011, including the Monaco and British Grands Prix.
He lured customers into handing over tens of thousands of pounds for dream encounters with sports stars including Formula One drivers and football players, and accommodation on a super-yacht owned by motorsport tycoon Eddie Jordan.
Kent Police began an investigation into Maxwell after a number of clients came forward to report him.
Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate spent months following Maxwell’s messy paper trail and analysing financial accounts to find he used most of the vast sums of money given to him in good faith on gambling, sometimes spending thousands of pounds in a single day. He also paid out on a number of luxury holidays for his family.
On January 14 2013, Maxwell was charged with 17 counts of fraudulent activity.
At Maidstone Crown Court on November 11 2013, he pleaded guilty to 17 charges of Section 1 fraud and offences under the Fraudulent Trading Companies Act 2006, with 37 other offences taken into account.
He was jailed on Friday (January 17 2014) and sentenced to 40 months imprisonment for 17 offences to run concurrent. He was also disqualified from holding any Limited company position for ten years.
His father in law, Terence Boswell, of Surrey, had been lured into fraudulent activity alongside him and was given a nine-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of transferring criminal property.