Expats swindled out of 6m euros
A GROUP of British expats have contacted the police after losing more than six million euros to an alleged Costa del Sol fraudster.
The unsuspecting Brits each invested up to 1.64m euros into the so-called Ponzi scheme, operating out of Marbella, Dubai and India.
Welsh expat Rhys Williams, 36, is accused of snaring wealthy parents at his children’s 10,000-euro-a-year private school in Marbella.
The victims insist the businessman, who was declared bankrupt in the UK, persuaded them to invest huge sums into a paper-recycling and printing business, as well as trading platforms in Dubai, “guaranteeing them a 2% monthly return”.
One British pensioner, Brian Livesey, 84, invested 1.64m euros in late 2014. The former soldier, who has lived in Marbella for decades, has yet to see any return.
His son, Paul, said: “It has destroyed him. He had a stroke earlier this year from the stress of it, and we are barely keeping our heads above water, paying off debts.”
Mr Livesey, who once ran a successful UK construction company, was introduced to Williams by a director at one of Gibraltar’s crypto-currency companies.
“They snared him in with trips to Wimbledon for the tennis, to Sweden, and to fancy meals out, which was nothing compared with what they got from him,” said Paul. “They need to be stopped.”
Another victim, Adrian Parsons, 53, from Birmingham, invested 500,000 euros into the Dubai-based recycling company.
He told the Olive Press: “He was very convincing. He and his partner were living in a 10,000-euro-a-month villa in Marbella, and were dressed, head to toe, in designer clothes and Rolexes.
Mr Parsons even flew out to Dubai, where he was shown around various facilities which, apparently, backed up the claims.
“He reinforced all this with detailed bank statements and lots of official paperwork, which we now think was fake,” he added.
Initially, the investment seemed to be genuine, and, for the first six months, he was paid back the promised monthly 2%.
“But then the money suddenly stopped coming in,” he said. “I’m sure this was some sort of Ponzi scheme. Clearly, they ran out of more investors.”
For two more years, Williams kept promising the money would be returned, and Mr Parsons has since asked for his 500,000-euro investment back to care for his father, who has terminal cancer.
“Williams vowed I would get my money back, telling me how his mother had also had cancer, and that he wouldn’t let us down,” he added. “But it never materialised.”
Another victim, Michael McVicar, claims to have lost 1.5m euros, while up to a dozen other expats have, apparently, each lost between 100,000 euros and a million.
The Olive Press discovered that Williams left Llys Meddyg Llangristiolus, in North Wales, almost a decade ago, after being declared bankrupt, and having his care-home company investigated for fraud.
He is believed to have returned to Wales with his family, “leaving a trail of destruction behind him and many lives in tatters,” said one investor.
North Yorkshire’s police fraud squad confirmed that they are investigating Williams, and, following various denuncias, Estepona Guardia Civil are doing likewise.