A Yorkshire Dales accountant who left a trail of devastated clients in his wake after operating a sophisticated “Ponzi” scam has been ordered to pay back more than £270,00.
Bentham accountant Geoff Langdale was jailed for six years last September after a court heard how he squandered clients’ money on keeping his business afloat and visiting adult websites including a Russian dancer’s webcam.
For more than a decade individuals and organisations trusted Langdale to invest their money, but instead the 63-year-old’s victims ended up losing over £1.1 million.
Langdale, of Springfield, Bentham, was brought from prison for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing before Judge David Hatton QC at Bradford Crown Court yesterday and told he must repay £272,729.86 in the next six months or face a further three years behind bars.
Judge Hatton formally declared that Langdale had enjoyed a criminal lifestyle as a result of his offending.
An investigation into his financial affairs revealed that Langdale currently has available assets totalling just over £272,000.
The majority of the assets relate to Langdale’s share of the equity in his home and a flat in Bentham as well as his pension.
Prosecutor Alasdair Campbell successfully applied for the money paid back by Langdale to be used as compensation for the victims of the fraud.
The court heard last year how Langdale, who was struck off as a chartered accountant in 2009, dishonestly obtained more than £2.3 million from would-be investors over an 11-year period, but about £1.1 million had been repaid through the scheme.
Mr Campbell said Langdale had been operating a classic so-called “Ponzi” scheme in which he promised investors a good rate of interest and he had created documentation which was intended to satisfy clients that their investments were safe.
During his police interview, Langdale said his wife and staff were not aware of the fraud and Mr Campbell said the defendant’s wife had subsequently filed for divorce.
Langdale, who had no previous convictions, cooperated fully with the police inquiry and pleaded guilty to charges of obtaining money transfers by deception and fraud.
His barrister, Christopher Evans, said Langdale’s reputation was in tatters and he accepted that he would deservedly leave prison penniless.
Judge David Hatton QC told Langdale at his sentence: “Over the period of 11 years you dishonestly obtained £2.3 million and there is to this day a loss of just over £1 million. Monies that those individuals and institutions badly need.”