Published: 18:04, 07 April 2011 |
Updated: 09:43, 10 January 2014
A confidence trickster who convinced more than 8,000 people to invest millions in his pyramid schemes has won a cut in his prison sentence after appeal judges ruled he was not a thief.
Kevin Foster, from Doddington, lived a life of luxury on the £1.4 million he made from the schemes which promised investors massive returns but ended with many of them making huge losses.
The 52-year-old, of Seed Road, was jailed for 10 years at Harrow Crown Court in April last year after he was convicted of multiple thefts and dishonest concealment.
But three Appeal Court judges quashed Foster’s theft convictions, ruling them unsafe, and cut his jail term to nine years.
Lord Justice Elias told the court the scheme started off as a betting ring in 2000 which promised its members good returns from group gambling on English football.
Buoyed by the syndicate’s success, Foster expanded his operation and took on a number of pyramid schemes which at their height had convinced 8,500 people to invest about £35 million.
The judge said investors were only paid back when others joined the schemes and hundreds lost their money when the operation was shut down by the Serious Fraud Office in 2004.
Foster made £1.4 million from the schemes. He spent the money on a country pad, a swimming pool and exotic animals.
But his lawyers argued that some investors had handed over cash “without imposing obligations” on Foster to use it in a particular way and it could therefore not be said he had “stolen” their money when he spent it on himself.
Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Mr Justice Mackay and Mr Justice Hickinbottom, said that because some of the money was free for Foster to use in any way he deemed necessary, his actions could not amount to theft.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.