Page last updated at 21:46 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Gambler warned he faces jail over 34m pyramid scheme

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Foster was warned he faced a substantial jail term

A professional gambler has been found guilty of running a £34m pyramid scam that targeted people on low incomes.

Kevin Foster, 51, of Doddington, in Kent, was convicted of charges of dishonestly concealing a material fact and theft at Harrow Crown Court.

Jurors were told he persuaded thousands of people to part with an average of £4,200 at high-pressure rallies in sports and social clubs across the UK.

The judge warned Foster he faced a "substantial" jail sentence.

He was cleared of one count of theft and no verdict was reached on a further charge.

A Ferrari, one of several luxury cars Foster spent 700,000 on

He was remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date.

The court heard the former cab driver's "KF Concept" roadshow deliberately targeted low income people, including many in small valleys communities in south Wales.

At least 8,000 people "invested" a minimum of £1,000 into the scam, with a guarantee that within two years they would get a return of five times their initial outlay.

During the roadshows he appeared on stage to music, cheering and handing prize winners luxury holidays and even free cars.

The jury was told he used their money to fund a lavish lifestyle, spending more than £600,000 on a luxury farm in Kent, which he fitted out with a swimming pool and hot tub, and £700,000 on motor vehicles including a Ferrari Spyder.

Foster also spent money on expensive koi carp breeding pools and withdrew almost £3m in cash.

'Complex investigation'

He was convicted of unauthorised investment activity, deliberately concealing facts from investors and stealing investors' funds, following a seven-week trial.

Foster was found guilty of six counts of theft, relating to his use of funds, and eight charges under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

After the convictions, Serious Fraud Office director Richard Alderman said: "I am very pleased with this verdict.

"This was a very complex investigation and the SFO was determined to bring justice for the many victims who lost their hard-earned savings to this Ponzi scheme.

"I would like to thank colleagues from Kent Police and the FSA (Financial Services Authority) who helped us with our investigation."



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