Conman scams best friends

A CONMAN stole more than £400,000 from his best friends in a spread-betting scam, a court heard yesterday.

Jonathon McCrae, 41, was best man at the weddings of two of those who invested in his scheme, which he told them could produce returns of 800%.

Bolton Crown Court heard victims were fooled into thinking their investments were making huge profits as they embarked on lavish lifestyles with foreign properties and fast cars.

One was led to believe he could afford expensive treatment for his sick child, who needed heart surgery.

Ian Lee, prosecuting, told the court how McCrae tricked those who trusted him by producing false financial statements which showed his so-called fund had more than £2 million, when in fact the true amount was just £37.

McCrae, from Bolton, Lancashire, acted as best man to the two people he stole the most money from. Steven Bennett and his wife, Karen, invested £97,685 in McCrae’s bogus scheme, and his childhood friend, Ritchie Brown, gave him £104,000.

McCrae was jailed for three years and four months.

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