'Broker' jailed for fleeing £8m fraud trial

'Broker' jailed for fleeing £8m fraud trial


A man who posed as a high-powered financial broker and swindled £36 million from clients, including £8m from Manchester United’s ex-chairman, Martin Edwards, has been sentenced to six months in jail for fleeing the UK while awaiting trial over an £8 million fraud, reported the Guardian.

Yesterday, Judge Alistair McCreath sentenced Brown to six months for breaching his bail, which will be added to the seven-year sentence for fraud he received in his absence in May 2009, a court official said.

Brown managed to convince a number of businesspeople that he was a successful investor with connections to royalty and the US secret services. In fact, he was a Glaswegian son of a whisky executive who had few qualifications and was being sought for fraud in Florida.

B&C previously wrote how multi-millionaire Michael Brown, 46, was found guilty of theft, fraud and money laundering at London’s Southwark Crown Court back in 2008 but jumped bail before his trial and went on the run. An arrest warrant was subsequently issued and he was sentenced in his absence to seven years in jail for stealing £36 million from clients.

The fraudster also used £2.4 million of the stolen money to fund the Liberal Democrats before the 2005 general election - the party's largest ever donation to date.

A court was later told that Brown's company was wholly fraudulent and that the £2.4 million donation to the Lib Dems during the 2005 election campaign was made only so that he could convince his victims, including former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards, that he was a legitimate and well-connected businessman. The party was cleared of any wrongdoing.

After changing his name and appearance, Brown went on the run from his Hampstead home in July 2008. The Guardian disclosed last year that he was hiding in in the exclusive resort of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, where he was still posing as a businessman while defrauding investors.

In January this year, the convicted conman was arrested and detained in January after being found living in the Dominican Republic, where he was known locally as Darren Patrick Nally, the name believed to be on a fraudulent passport with which he is said to have entered the country.

Back in 2008, a court heard how Brown had spent the millions remaining to fund an "extravagant lifestyle”, pay business expenses and keep other investors happy with "pretend" returns.

Martin Edmunds, QC, prosecuting at the time, said Brown rented a £49,000-a-year Mayfair apartment where he "conducted negotiations" with Martin Edwards, the former chairman of Manchester United, whom he stole nearly £8 million.

His multi-million pound "spending spree" included an impressive office in the same area, and a garage of upmarket cars, including a Range Rover with the number plate 5 AVE, a Bentley and a Porsche. 

Brown also spent £2.5m on a private jet, £400,000 on an ocean-going yacht and £327,000 on an entertainment system for his home in Majorca.

Last month a judge at Southwark crown court directed Brown to start his seven-year jail sentence after he was extradited to the UK via Spain.

A court official at the court said on Monday: "Michael Brown has received a sentence of six months' imprisonment for breach of bail.

"Nine days he spent in prison in Spain will be deducted from the sentence, which will run consecutively with the sentence he received for theft, perverting the course of justice and transferring criminal property in May 2009."


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