Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Newport bogus stockbroker sentenced to six years prison over £250,000 fraud


A bogus stockbroker who conned family, friends and investors out of more than £250,000 and spent it on strippers and helicopter rides, has been jailed.

James Bufton, 26, from Newport, was described at the city’s crown court as the “lowest form of human being”.

Bufton, who has been made bankrupt also admitted trying to defraud HM Revenue and Customs out of just under £1.3m.

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He was sentenced to six years in prison after admitting several counts of fraud.

The court heard he boasted on social media about drinking expensive Cristal champagne, spending hundreds of pounds on alcohol in nightclubs and posted an image of himself with the singer Rihanna.

During his sentencing, the court was told Bufton defrauded his own aunt and uncle.

His 62-year-old aunt, who is now living on Universal Credit, said she willingly gave him the money because she “believed him to be a successful stockbroker”.

Strip club spending

Days after his uncle died from cancer, Bufton faked his voice to get hold of his £70,000 pension.

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Prosecutor Tim Evans said Bufton “spent a lot of time and an awful lot of money” in the Fantasy Lounge strip club.

Bufton had pretended to be a Goldman Sachs trained stockbroker, but Mr Evans said he was in fact “a conman”.

He defrauded his ex-girlfriend’s parents before eventually being confronted by them.

The court heard Bufton orchestrated “a cacophony of lies” pretending to operate a company based in Regents Park, London, but actually worked out of his parents’ terraced home in Newport.

Bufton used other people’s money to pay for stays at the Celtic Manor hotel and a helicopter to the Cheltenham Festival.

He was arrested in 2016 but continued to defraud people, including his father’s best friend of 40 years Simon Thomas.

Mr Thomas gave Bufton £30,000 to fight his legal case but he spent that money on “one big jolly”.

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He was then persuaded to invest a further £20,000 in another bogus venture.

Bricks through window

In an impact statement, Mr Thomas described Bufton as “the lowest form of human being”.

Bufton admitted fraud by abuse of position, fraud by false representation and possession of articles for use in fraud and money laundering.

The court heard he then committed a large VAT fraud to try and pay people he had conned as part of his investor fraud.

Mr Evans said the defendant tried to “falsely claim repayments of tax to which his companies were not entitled”.

He was arrested for a second time in 2018.

In mitigation the court heard Bufton had apologised to his victims and had received threats against him and his family, including bricks being thrown through their windows.

Judge Daniel Williams said: “You have no conscience and still less remorse for what you have done”.



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