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Investors duped out of £1.2m by trader James David Rintoul
A CITY trader from North Yorkshire who admitted conning investors out of more than £1.2million is today beginning a jail sentence of nearly three years.
James David Rintoul, 55, handed himself into police when he realised the scale of his deception meant his oil investment business was about to collapse, leaving his nine investors thousands of pounds out of pocket.
At his sentencing in York Crown Court yesterday, it was heard Rintoul set up Fuel Pulse Ltd in August 2008, intending to use his extensive knowledge of oil trading and his reputation in the City to turn a profit for a handful of friends and business partners.
However, the worldwide recession that year hit trading hard and Rintoul found himself having to attract more investors to put money in to the scheme, while falsifying the extent of his losses to existing clients.
In mitigation, Martin Sharpe said Rintoul, of Wykeham, near Scarborough, believed he could “trade his way out” of his predicament.
Mr Sharpe said: “This fund started in August 2008 and went rapidly downhill from September 2008. We are not talking about someone who was doing this for financial gain; we are talking about someone who was arrogant and wanted to protect his professional reputation.”
The court was told Rintoul’s deception went as far as sending out expensive Christmas hampers to his investors in an attempt to make them think all was well. The former City trader eventually turned himself in when he was given more than £250,000 by a client, in good faith, but rather than investing the cash, he used it to try to patch up his sinking business.
Sentencing him to two years and eight months in prison and banning him from being a company director for seven years, Judge Christopher Attwooll said: “You should have realised this was an impossible situation and that at some point it was going to collapse.”
After the hearing, Adam Apters, who lost £60,000 with Rintoul, said: “It wasn’t Jim doing this for profit. I believe it was hubris which brought him down. He was a guy for whom reputation was everything.”
Inspector Garry Ridler, who led North Yorkshire Police’s investigation, said: “Rintoul played with the investors’ money for his own gratification and his trading was described as chaotic. At the time of the collapse of the fund, the Fuel Pulse statements were showing nearly $3 million in the account, when in reality he had lost the lot.
“Rintoul used his friendship with the investors to fund his own lifestyle and conduct this Ponzi-style fraud. This breach of trust and damage to the investors’ reputation, along with the loss of personal money, was what made this such a cruel fraud.”