Freddy David jailed for six years after admitting £14.5 million fraud

Financier admitted obtaining money transfer by deception and fraud by abuse of position


Financier Freddy David has been jailed for six years after he admitted defrauding 55 victims out of £14.5 million in a Ponzi scheme.

David, 49, of Hartfield Avenue, Elstree, Borehamwood, stood down as managing director at wealth management company HBFS Financial Services last year amid a police investigation into the fraud.

On Monday, he admitted obtaining money transfer by deception and fraud by abuse of position at Southwark Crown Court.

The court heard he used the money to fund his gambling habit, pay for family holidays and pay his children's school fees.

David's friends were among the victims. He convinced them their money was being held in a bank account, accruing up to eight per cent interest a year.

He told them the money was locked in for between three months and five years. He would then move the money from HBFS accounts to his own. He used some of the money to pay other investors' the "monthly interest" their investment was supposedly accruing.

The victims invested between between £20,000 and £750,000 in the scheme. The fraud ran "in parallel with legitimate HBFS business", police said.

David spent £15.6 million on gambling websites between 2005 and 2017, including £240,000 in a single day.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) began investigating in 2017 when it became suspicious of HBFS's accounts.

One of his victims was pensioner Leon Winsky, who lost £300,000 in the scam and said he contemplated suicide but wanted to confront his fraudster in court.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, he said: "Just as I was about to jump in front of a train, I thought I would deny myself the chance to tell Freddy David in court what he had done to my family.

"The money was going towards buying a flat for our special needs son. This will no longer be the case."

After he was arrested, David told police: "“I am public enemy number one in the Jewish community and understandably so, I have very very few friends left and I understand why.”

Passing sentence, Judge Deborah Taylor said: “You took advantage of your reputation within the community. This was a fraud of the utmost gravity with a devastating effect on others.

"Your criminality has caused not only loss financially but despair to many.

"This was a blatant and continued abuse of trust. There was an element of sophisticated planning and the fraudulent activity was carried out over a long period of time."

The City of London Police, which investigated, said David exploited the fact he was a  "well respected of his community" to defraud people.

Investigator Katie Watkins said David's crimes were "callous and calculated".

She said: “David took advantage of individuals who placed significant trust in him. He abused his position and as a consequence this has had a devastating impact on the victims and their families, both financially and psychologically.

“David was a well-respected member of his community who exploited this in his position as a managing director of a recommended financial advisory firm to gain trust from unsuspecting investors.  

“This fraud has caused significant emotional distress and financial harm to the victims involved, many of whom invested their life savings in HBFS. Some victims are retired and are not in a position to recover the money lost.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “Freddy David abused the position of trust he had as managing director at a regulated firm to run this appalling fraud.

"The FCA have been working closely with the City of London Police throughout and will now be carrying out its own enforcement action against David on the back of the criminal conviction to prevent him working in financial services again.”

David was also disqualified from being a director of a company for 10 years.

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