A FORMER Dewsbury and Mirfield conman who scammed investors out of £10 million has been jailed.
John Hirst, 61, was today sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud and a further two counts of money laundering.
The charges related to a scam targeting ex-pats in Majorca which Hirst ran with his financial adviser, Richard Pollett.
Bradford Crown Court heard how people were charmed by the men into investing their life savings, including an individual who was diagnosed with cancer, gave them all of his savings and lost it all.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall told the pair: “You are through and through common criminals. What you did, and what makes this case of the utmost gravity, was brutal, callous and cruel. You are corrupt.
“This was an appalling and shocking course of conduct in which so many were targeted and so many have, in effect, had the remainder of their lives shattered and ruined.”
The court heard the pair persuaded investors to part with their life savings and hard-earned cash, promising huge financial returns.
In total investors put around £10 million into Hirst’s investment firm Gilher Inc but less than £5 million was ever paid out.
The rest was splashed on Hirst’s champagne lifestyle which included spending £90,000 on his Las Vegas wedding and at least £270,000 on renovating his villa in Majorca.
Just under £160,000 was spent on hotels, holidays and flights with more than £25,000 spent on jewellery.
Hirst and his wife Linda went on a series of cruises and trips costing £75,000 and the couple stayed at the exclusive Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai on the way to the Seychelles for their honeymoon.
In total, more than £46,000 was spent on accommodation at the hotel over various visits.
Pollett, 70, of Dorset, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail.
Linda Hirst, 62, of Surrey, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years after being found guilty of three counts of money laundering and one count of evading a liability by deception.
Judge Durham Hall told John Hirst, now of Millroyd Mill, Brighouse: “You wanted it all – get rich quick. You had the greed and the desire for the high life, which overcame all morality.”