A breast cancer patient was conned out of thousands of pounds from her health insurance by a man operating a “Ponzi-style” betting scheme.
The woman lost a £28,000 critical illness payment and relatives delayed telling her about the collapse of the scheme as she was undergoing treatment at the time.
Yesterday at Perth Sheriff Court Peter Plimley was warned he faces jail after admitting embezzling £228,359 from the woman and eight other victims over a two-year period.
Plimley, who was living in Kinfauns at the time, accepted money from them for investment and then pretended it had all been lost in a single transaction.
Victims of the retired chartered surveyor’s scheme included his brother-in-law, neighbours and his daughter’s boyfriend, who was also given commission for attracting other investors.
The court heard the 68-year-old was operating a spread betting scheme and had made 42 losses and only three gains in 45 months.
He then tried to abandon the scheme by telling all the investors that the entire cash fund had been lost in seconds due to a market crash.
Depute fiscal John Malpass said: “The accused used spread betting to place bets on the currency markets on conversion rates of the US dollar against the Euro.
“He indicated that he had a trading strategy for this which allowed him to predict fluctuations in the market.
“Over a 45 month period the accused had three gains and 42 losses. He invested £178,393.70 and his losses were £162,365.91. He withdrew £16,596.96.
“Despite the losses being made by him, he continued to reassure the complainers that all was fine when it wasn’t.
“Rather than coming clean he kept then in the dark and hoped he could turn things around.”
Plimley used cash given to him by later investors to pay back the capital of early investors, along with their “profit”.
Mr Malpass continued: “Four of the investors got their investment back, along with considerable profit. It could be inferred that the money was being recycled and used to pay these four — it was a Ponzi-style scheme.”
Plimley was formerly a property investor and landlord but his business has since entered sequestration.
His solicitor David Holmes said he had not sought to advertise his scheme but others were aware that it appeared to be working.
Sentence on Plimley, of Newtonmore, was deferred for reports.