Two Sussex relatives have been sentenced for carrying out a multi-million pound betting investment fraud.

Simon Reynolds (pictured), 64, a publican, of Hoe Lane, Flansham, and his nephew Ian Reynolds, 52, self-employed, of Ninfield Road, Bexhill, appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday 23 June, having previously been convicted of fraud by false representation.

Simon was sentenced to a total of six years imprisonment and Ian Reynolds was sentenced to three and a half years.

Simon Reynolds had pleaded guilty in March 2020 to two counts covering a four year period, and Ian Reynolds not guilty. At a trial in May 2021 Ian Reynolds was found not guilty of a count covering the first two years but guilty to a second count covering the years 2010 to 2012.

The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by East Sussex detectives into the operation by the pair of an online spread betting investment fraud, known as ‘Sporting Profits’ in which they claimed to provide expert advice relating to various sporting events worldwide, between 2008 and 2012, involving the loss of more than £4.8 million for more than 100 victims across the UK and abroad, including 25 from Sussex.

The pair operated two companies during this period, providing profits statements to investors which falsely indicated that their investments had grown.

Detective Constable Jon Moore said; “The scheme was set up by Simon Reynolds who claimed to have a tried and tested system to make money on the betting exchanges which could provide an income of 2% per month on any money invested . The sales pitch claimed that only 1% of the investment would be at risk. Monthly updates were sent to all investors indicating how much their investment had been increased by when all the time the scheme was losing money from the outset.

“Simon Reynolds set up the business and employed Ian as the ‘bookkeeper’ – although Ian also received investors’ money and encouraged people to invest when they both knew the scheme had failed.

“After extensive enquiries our expert financial investigation team identified 145 investors providing £4,271,963.00 to Simon Reynolds and £681,589.00 to Ian Reynolds making a total of £4.953,552.00.

“A total sum of £1,598,650.77 was subsequently repaid to some of the investors, but many have lost their pension, inheritances and life savings.

“The Reynolds’ used the remainder of the funds to repay their losses to the betting companies and also to fund their own living.”

Louise Whitehead of the CPS said: “After a complex investigation and prosecution by both Sussex Police and the Specialist Fraud Division of the CPS, the extent of the investment fraud committed by both defendants has been uncovered and some justice has now been obtained for the many victims.”