Businessman jailed for £1.24m fraud

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A Scarcoft businessman who conned three of his associates out of £1.24 million has this week been jailed for more than five years.

Jonathan Guy Brudenell - a prominent North Yorkshire society figure - admitted five offences under the Fraud Act when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court, as well as a charge of perjury for making a false statement during a bankruptcy petition hearing.

Brudenell, known as Guy, was a friend and acquaintance of rich and influential people and owned expensive homes and cars and a helicopter, as well as taking luxury holidays.

But by 2008, North Yorkshire Police said his debts were “spiralling” and his borrowing had got out of control, leading to him being declared bankrupt.

Three North Yorkshire businessmen who regarded Brudenell as a friend then became victims of what the force described as his “facade”.

In 2010, its major fraud team launched an investigation into his financial and business activities after being alerted by the Official Receiver’s Office, which was dealing with his bankruptcy, and Cleveland Police, which had been contacted by one of his victims.

Police said the probe “uncovered a web of lies, deception and fraud” as Brudenell tried to maintain his lifestyle.

His first victim invested £600,000 in what he believed was a repossession property deal in York after being assured he would receive thousands of pounds in interest each month, but the interest payment cheques bounced. His money had been used to pay debts.

In 2009, Brudenell persuaded an acquaintance to loan him £400,000 in another deal involving repossessed property, but the money was again used to pay off debts. The third victim, another friend of Brudenell, lent him £240,000 on the promise of a quick profit on a property deal, before getting “a stream of excuses and fraudulent emails”. He received just £7,200 back from Brudenell.

Brudenell, of Lammas Court, Scarcroft, had admitted six offences under the Fraud Act when he appeared at York Crown Court last year. One was allowed to remain on file.

He was jailed for four years and eight months for the fraud offences, and eight months for perjury, with the sentences running consecutively.

Detective Inspector Ian Wills, who heads North Yorkshire Police’s major fraud team, said: “Brudenell blatantly abused the trust of his friends.

“He was a persistent liar whose deception was compounded by fraudulently altering official documents and lying during legal proceedings in a feeble attempt to delay repayment of the loans and avoid exposure.”