Girlfriend's family lost hundreds of thousands to conman boyfriend with 'delusions of grandeur'

Girlfriend's family lost hundreds of thousands to conman boyfriend with 'delusions of grandeur'

Matthew Burgess appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court

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George Bunn

By George Bunn


Published: 14/11/2023

- 14:41

Matthew Burgess claimed that he used to work for an investment bank in London

A family were swindled out of thousands by a conman who claimed to be a successful stockbroker.

Matthew Burgess told his girlfriend Megan Howorth he could make her and her family a lot of money due to his expertise of working in a London investment bank.


Matthew Burgess had no trading licence and was out of his depth in the world of trading.

However, he told his girlfriend and her family that he was a star trader dealing in foreign currency.

Matthew Burgess claimed that he used to work for an investment bank in London

GRAHAM HUNT/BNPS

Burgess's con went on for five years before it came to a head in March 2021 after a suicide attempt.

It turns out that the 32 year old from Dorchester, Dorset, spent almost £500,000 trying to recoup losses of £289,000, as well as funding his own life and gambling habits and paying off debts.

Burgess gave Megan Howorth and her family fake reports showing how their investments were growing and even paid out some “profits” which came from money he received from other backers.

His victims included Megan's father, Malcolm Howorth, who persuaded his own partner at the time, Gemma Herbertson, and twin brother to invest as well.

Bournemouth Crown Court

Bournemouth Crown Court

PA

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After being taken to hospital, his victims found out all their money was gone.

Overall, his six victims invested £801,249, with the vast majority either lost on the market or spent by Burgess, who had no other source of income.

Jane Osborne, for the prosecution, told Bournemouth crown court: “Throughout his involvement with each of them he assured them repeatedly, and sometimes in writing, their money was safe.

“He said the money would be transferred into broker accounts, it would be used conservatively, they could withdraw funds at any time and, perhaps most crucially, if the investment should assume a loss of over £10,000, their investment would be returned.”

Mitigating, Benjamin Newton said his client had genuinely wanted to make money for his girlfriend’s father.

He said: “His plan at the outset was to make a healthy profit and take his commission. He thought he could be a superstar trader, make a lot of money for people and live off his commission and it just goes terribly wrong.”

Burgess, who had no previous convictions, admitted six counts of fraud by false representation and one offence of carrying on a regulated activity when he was not an authorised or exempt person.

Judge Jonathan Fuller adjourned the case for sentencing.

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