A fraud victim of the firm where David Beckham’s brother-in-law was director claimed the football star’s name was used to give him “confidence in the company,” a court heard.
Darren Flood, 39, who was married to Victoria Beckham’s sister, was a director at The Commodities Link which allegedly used his links to the footballer to convince people to invest.
Alleged victim Peter John Harris told Kingston Crown Court “great play” was made of the Beckham link to trick investors into handing over more than £800,000 for worthless “rare earth metals”.
Mr Harris, who lost more than £100,000 in the scheme, said he was cold-called by “Paul Roberts”, which jurors were told was a name used by Paul Muldoon.
He said: “I don’t think he mentioned a great deal about the company itself. He did make a play about his experience in the marketplace and that of the partners.
“He also, even at that early stage, made great play about Darren Flood being involved as a director.”
Prosecutor Stephen Shay asked: “What did he say about Darren Flood?”
Mr Harris said: “Well only that he was the brother-in-law of David Beckham, which I suppose was supposed to give me confidence in the company.”
Jurors previously heard victims also were shown doctored news articles boasting about potential returns and offered meals at restaurants in London.
Some were promised a 300 per cent return on the “worthless” investments, Mr Shay said.
Flood was said to be responsible for marketing and branding, with the court shown a PowerPoint outlining his “roles and responsibilities”.
Asked what gave him confidence in the investments, Mr Harris added: “I remember him [Paul Roberts] saying that there was a great demand for rare earth metals and there was a good trading market there.”
But jurors heard Mr Harris grew suspicious when “Paul Roberts” asked him to invest a further £32,800 to bring his total up to £150,000.
He claimed he was told that would give him “access to an online trading account.”
Mr Harris said: “At that point I was getting very uncomfortable because I really had no physical documentation or emails that really set out the position.
“He then suggested TCL would fund the difference if I was to give him £20,000.
“That’s what this contract was for. However my view was no company does that – there is something very wrong here.
“That’s when I asked for funds to be returned to me.”
But Mr Harris told the jury none of the money was returned.
Representing Flood, Joanna Hardy asked: “When Paul Roberts, in your words, made a play on the David Beckham link to Darren Flood, it was him telling you about that, wasn’t it?”
Mr Harris said: “It was, yes.”
Flood and four others deny one count of fraud by false representation.
The others are Gennaro Fiorentino, 38, Jonathan Docker, 32, Mark Whitehead, 59, and Vikki King, 39.
Paul Muldoon, 34, pleaded guilty to the same charge at an earlier hearing.
Tarun Jain, 49, Ike Obiamiwe, 56, and Daniel Jordan, 35, deny laundering earnings from the alleged fraud.
The trial continues.