David Beckham’s former brother-in-law faces up to six years in jail after his firm wined and dined investors and fleeced them of their savings in an £800,000 boiler room fraud.
The former husband of Victoria Beckham’s sister, Darren Flood found elderly people to lure into buying worthless “rare earth metals” as a director of The Commodities Link.
His cronies “made great play” of his ties to the former England football captain to gain victims’ trust and even planned scamming the dad of ex-Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole.
They pushed OAPs into the scheme with lavish meals and promised a 300 per cent return on their investments but ignored them when they tried to cash out.
Flood, 40, who was married to Posh’s sister Louise, was a director and in charge of marketing.
He and five others were convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud following a ten week trial.
They and two others who admitted the fraud are being sentenced together at Kingston Crown Court during a two-day hearing which started today (Thur).
Today (Thur) bald Flood, donned a dark jumper, white shirt and tie in the dock as prosecutor Stephen Shay named more than two dozen victims – including a former police officer and nurse – who were fleeced of up to £120,000.
Victims invested more than £800,000 in “rare earth” metals which are mainly used to make tech products between April 2012 until it was wound by by the High Court in August 2014.
Mr Shay said victim Reginald Bison lost £119,500 after using all of his inheritance following his mother’s death and taking out a loan to pay for the investments for the scam.
He has a county court judgement against him for £9,000 for unpaid interest payments on the loan.
The prosecutor said: “A large number of the victims were elderly and retired and although it may well be the defendants didn’t sit down and think ‘lets defraud some elderly people’ the reality is this sort of fraud does inevitably attract elderly victims… retirees.”
Victim Peter Harris lost £67,000 after being cold-called by Flood’s co-defendant Paul Muldoon, 34, who talked up the Becks link using a false name of Paul Roberts.
Mr Harris, who was also taken out to lunch by the crook, told the trial: “He also, even at that early stage, made great play about Darren Flood being involved as a director… that he was the brother-in-law of David Beckham, which I suppose was supposed to give me confidence in the company.
“He, Paul Roberts, made great play of Darren Flood being David Beckham’s brother in law.”
Flood, of Hertford, Herts., joined as a director in June 2012 opening its two bank accounts with Coutts bank later that year.
He resigned on April 2013 after being accused by colleagues of not performing on “any level” other than to “extract expenses” in company documents uncovered by detectives.
The scam was only uncovered after police investigators spoke to one of the victims after becoming suspicious of her investments.
Flood, who had no previous convictions, and Gennaro Fiorentino, 38, Jonathan Docker, 32, Mark Whitehead, 59, and Vikki King, 39, were convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
Muldoon, 34, whose lawyer said felt “deep remorse” for his crimes, and Stephen Todd, 37, pleaded guilty to the joint charge at an earlier hearing.
Ike Obiamiwe, 56, and Daniel Jordan, 35, were convicted of money laundering from the alleged fraud.
Mr Shay said: “We say Mr Fiorentino ran the company, Mr Muldoon did not – he was the main sales man.
“We would respectfully submit a significant role to the remaining defendants of a category B medium culpability factor.”
This means Flood faces between three to six years in jail for his part in the fraud, according to sentencing guidelines.
The prosecutor added the devastating impact of the scam on the victims meant the jail sentence should be longer.
He said: “The submission I make on the Crown’s behalf is the detriment is at least medium impact. That would necessitate an upward movement within the category range.
“We of course I accept Mr Flood left The Commodities Link in April 2013.”
Fiorentino’s defence lawyer said he was suffering from “full blown Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”, and was the primary carer for his mother and 16-year-old son.
Tarun Jain, 50, faces a retrial in April accused of the money laundering charge and a confiscation hearing to compensate the victims was set for later in the year.
The hearing continues.
By Berny Torre