A con artist who used 4 million EUR in victims money to play the stock market has been caged for three years despite attempts to return his ill-gotten gains after winning the lottery.
The 57-year-old lotto winner was sentenced to three years in prison by a court in Linz, the capital of the Austrian state of Upper Austria, after he was found guilty on charges of serious commercial fraud and forgery.
According to the indictment, the man managed to swindle more than 4 million EUR (3.5 million GBP) over a period of 20 years by tricking six of his clients.
Prosecutor Reinhard Steiner said: “He has deceived the customers and claimed to have invested the money in securities accounts that are managed by specialists.”
A securities account holds tradable financial assets and is often administered by a bank, broker or custodian.
However, the man did not use his clients’ money to guarantee them a safe investment but instead speculated with it on the stock market.
The man, whose identity was not reported due to privacy laws, reportedly even presented his customers with fake slips with the insurance company logo on them, documenting cash flows which never took place in an attempt to cover his tracks.
The expected share gains never came and the man found himself in serious debt.
To account for the swindled money from his clients’ accounts when some of them asked for their yields and partial payments, he used the funds from other customers as well as his own private assets.
The man even sold his home for 350,000 EUR (310,583 GBP) in an attempt to put some money back into the accounts.
When the insurance broker suddenly won 1 million EUR (887,380 GBP) playing the lottery, he decided to use it to repay the money he had lost on the stock market to his clients.
He said he also managed to “plug the holes” by using his earnings from poker tournaments.
However, despite his attempts to pay the money back to his clients he ultimately failed and in the end he contacted the prosecutor’s office in 2016 to tell them about the case.
The damage to his clients is reportedly serious in some cases.
One lawyer said his client, a female pensioner, now “lives on 830 EUR (736 GBP) a month and does not know how to pay for the civil trial”.
Another victim is reportedly the family of a well-known local doctor who lost all their pension reserves and savings for their children.
It was not reported if the swindler worked for a known insurance firm or whether he was a free agent and how and if the victims will ever see all their money back.
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