Ex-Prem star jailed after falsely using Man Utd legend’s name in £15m scam
Ex-Premier League defender Richard Rufus has been jailed after being found guilty of a £15m trading scam.
The 48-year-old, who spent his entire senior career at Charlton, conned friends and family members into handing him money while claiming to be a successful foreign exchange trader and promising returns of up to 60% per year.
He boasted of making 'colossal sums' and pretended that stars like Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand were already on board to tempt his victims to invest in what he convinced them was a 'low-risk' scheme.
READ MORE: Ex-Prem star guilty of using Rio Ferdinand's name to entice victims in £15m fraud
It's understood he used £7m of the total £15m to pay back investors in a pyramid scheme, while spending around £2m on himself. This meant Rufus was able to maintain a swanky footballer lifestyle long after he was forced to retire in 2004.
The Londoner was found guilty after a trial at Southwark Crown Court in December of fraud, money laundering and carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation.
Today (Thursday) he was jailed for seven and a half years. He will be released from prison no later than halfway through the sentence and serve the rest on licence.
Sentencing today, Judge Dafna Spiro told him: "The victims of this fraud are haunted by your actions.
"The people who invested did so in good faith, they believed your spiel because they thought you were the real deal. You were robbing Peter to pay Paul. You were living a lie at the expense of others."
The court heard Rufus had been living in a plush five-bedroom home on a private estate in leafy Purley, South London, spending £700,000 over five years on mortgages and loans and £200,000 to lease luxury cars.
Lucy Organ, prosecuting, said: "He scammed friends, family and associates out of millions of pounds by pretending he was able to offer a low-risk investment in the foreign exchange market.
"He claimed he had significant success with his strategy in the past. Mr Rufus took over £15million in total. He traded some of it, as I have said, losing vast amounts, but that wasn't the end of the fraud.
"Of that money, about £2m he never even transferred to foreign exchange trading accounts. He used this money partly to prop up the losses that his scams were making.
"Making payments back to other investors to continue the pretence that they were making a good investment, a so-called 'pyramid scheme' and partly simply for his own benefit, treating the money he received from investors as his own."
Rufus made his Charlton debut in 1993 and made just under 300 appearances for the club before being forced into retirement aged just 29 following a string of knee injuries.
He also earned six England Under-21 caps during his career, and in 2013 he was inducted into the Charlton Athletic Hall of Fame.
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