A conman who fleeced investors of nearly £35million was jailed for ten years yesterday.
Kevin Foster, 52, blasted out Money for Nothing by Dire Straits and Abba’s Money Money Money at glitzy roadshows round the country. He gave away exotic holidays, cars and thousands of pounds in prizes while enticing 8,500 investors each to put £1,000 into his company, the KF Concept.
The former black cab driver promised investors their money would turn into £5,000 within a year. Instead he personally gained £17million which he used to buy a fleet of luxury cars including a £78,000 Ferrari Spyder and a £52,000 Land Rover Discovery.
His £600,000 farm in Sittingbourne, Kent, boasted a swimming pool and a £9,000 hot tub. In its extensive grounds he kept a private zoo including albino wallabies, llamas and peacocks and koi carp in breeding pools.
He also had a collection of Star Wars figurines worth tens of thousands of pounds. Foster held his gameshow-style roadshows at sports clubs and halls around the country and was about to start broadcasting them by satellite before a raid by the Serious Fraud Office. He boasted: ‘I’m making about £28.50 from every £1’ and ‘This scheme has got 50,000 people in it,’ including, he claimed, members of the Royal Family.
Flashing his money, Foster would draw several names from a hat and give a lucky investor their prize immediately. Among his victims were mortgage advisers, financial advisers and policemen. Boasting that he had £203million in the bank, he bolstered his respectable facade by sponsoring sports stars and teams — including snooker player Stephen Lee, Britain’s top woman rally driver, Natalie Barratt, the Cardiff Red Devils ice hockey team and Maidstone United football club. But his profits were built on a pyramid ‘Ponzi’ scheme – a contrick-which promises sky-high returns, but relies on new investments to pay previous investors.
Investigators estimated he would have needed £250million to make good his promises to investors — most of whom lost everything they handed over. Kent Police raided his house in 2004 after our sister paper the Mail on Sunday exposed the scheme. Judge Nic Madge aid: ‘The lesson of this trial is that no one can honestly and safely get money for nothing. ‘By acting dishonestly you received large sums of money for nothing.’ The judge added: ‘It was a dishonest enterprise from the beginning. The only way you were able to pay the promised returns was, in your phrase, you had to “rob Peter to pay Paul”.
‘The money you received funded an extravagant lifestyle – a large property with a swimming pool and grounds, exotic animals and a toy collection said to be worth £2million. It was a sophisticated, elaborate, professional scheme.’ Ian Glen QC, said his client, who has been declared bankrupt has no assets left to be confiscated. ‘He is skint,’ he said. Foster’s wife, Elaine, 45, a horse dealer, insisted outside court that she and her family ‘are the real victims’. She added: ‘Kevin never forced them to hand money over.’
Foster was jailed at Harrow Crown Court for eight counts of deception, six of theft, relating to his use of funds to buy properties and cars, and service his own extensive debts between December 2001 and December 2004.