Former Premier League star Richard Rufus jailed for role in £15m trading scam

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Richard Rufus has been jailed after defrauding friends and family out of £15million. The former Premier League star was found guilty of fraud, money laundering, and carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday. The 47-year-old was handed a seven-and-a-half-year sentence. Judge Dafna Spiro told the former footballer his victims were “haunted” by his actions. 

Judge Spiro, sentencing told the defendant: “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 that Rufus used £7million of the money to pay back investors in a pyramid scheme and used around £2 million for himself.

Lucy Organ, prosecuting said it enabled him to “maintain a lifestyle of a footballer” after his retirement. 

Ms Organ said he enjoyed the “trappings of wealth” in his five-bedroom hour in Purley, south London. 

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Rufus conned his friends and family by promising returns of up to 60 percent per year, the court heard.

He told victims that stars such as Manchester United and England legend Rio Ferdinand were already on board with the “low-risk” scheme. 

Ms Organ 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.”

During his career, Rufus made 288 appearances for Charlton between 1993 and 2004. 

Roger Makanjuola of the CPS said: “Rufus acted in a selfish manner without any concern for his victims.

“He took advantage of his status as a professional athlete, a respected church member and he used the goodwill of his family and friends to scam them and associates out of millions of pounds by falsely claiming he was able to offer a low-risk investment in the Foreign Exchange Market.”