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 Fraudster ordered to pay back £65,000 to victims


​A FRAUDSTER who played a key role in a multi-million pound con which duped investors out of nearly £8million has been ordered to hand over his pension pot.

Anthony Kemp was jailed for seven years and one month for his part in the fraud, in which he conned victims into handing over large sums of money with the promise of high returns on their investments.

However, the 62-year-old instead used the cash to fund his own lavish lifestyle, spending it on luxury cruises, expensive clothing and casino visits.

Now Kemp, who is originally from Birtley in Tyne and Wear, will lose £64,899.01 out of his pension to pay back some of the damage caused to his victims.

During a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing earlier this week, Teesside Crown Court was told that Kemp has no saleable assets and the pension policies are his only realisable assets.

Speaking after the hearing, Financial Investigator Caroline Parry, from Durham Constabulary, said: “Anthony Kemp’s victims were hard-working, genuine people who had saved their money and wanted to do right by their families.

“But instead of investing their money as he had promised, Kemp used it to fund his own lavish lifestyle.

“I am pleased that his victims will receive some compensation as a result of the hearing.

“I also hope it shows that on top of prosecuting those who believe they are above the law, we are determined in pursuing criminals to deprive them of their criminal gains.”

Kemp was jailed in July this year after admitting conspiracy to defraud. He previously denied the charge but changed his plea on the first day of his trial.

In 2001 Kemp and his co-accused, Laurence Wheeler, introduced a network of people to a pyramid scheme, telling them they could get access to high yielding investments abroad.

Over the years, they duped 350 victims – many of whom were elderly or retired – into handing over large sums of money, with the promise that their investments would mature.

Their victims – who were referred to as ‘members’ – were given various dates when their investments would mature.

However, these dates were then repeatedly postponed using various excuses. 
In 2005, Kemp moved to New Zealand, where he continued his fraudulent activity, spending his ill-gotten gains on luxury holidays, beauty treatments, expensive clothing and gambling.

While in New Zealand, he was sentenced to three years and four months in prison after pleading guilty to a number of fraud offences in 2015. Once he had served his sentence, he was deported back to the UK where he was charged with conspiracy to defraud.  

In 2016, Laurence Wheeler, 74, from Tursdale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and was locked up for nine years.

His son, James Wheeler, 48, from Ferryhill, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and launder the proceeds of crime was locked up for eight years. He used his bank accounts to launder the cash received, while the con had been initially setup above a picture framing shop run by the Wheelers in Spennymoor.