David Beckham's former brother-in-law jailed for £1m fraud
The former brother-in-law of David Beckham has been jailed for his part in a near £1m fraud which used the family name to con victims.
Darren Flood, who was married to Victoria Beckham's sister Louise Adams, was a director in a company that cold-called elderly victims.
The firm, based in London, persuaded people to invest thousands of pounds in practically worthless materials.
Flood, 40, was one of seven people jailed for the fraud on Friday.
He was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation between April 2012 and August 2014 and jailed for two and a half years.
Six others were also jailed at Kingston Crown Court for their involvement in the con, which targeted victims including widow in her 80s, a retired policeman and a multiple sclerosis sufferer.
Their firm The Commodities Link, based in Canary Wharf, made "slick marketing videos" but Surrey Police said this was a "facade".
The force said it was aware of 24 victims who invested more than £800,000 but some people took out loans to cover their investments, meaning the true total sum lost is likely to be more than £1m.
Some victims were taken for high-value dinners in London and the Beckham name was mentioned to some potential investors to give the scheme an air of legitimacy.
There is no suggestion the Beckhams knew anything about the fraud or about any use of their name.
Investors in the so-called "boiler room fraud" were persuaded to put their money in a market that effectively did not exist for members of the public.
They were lied to about the value of materials - rare earth metals and oxides - which were sold to investors for up to 200 times more than the original purchase price.
The barrister for Flood argued he had not personally sought to capitalise on the family link.
The seven who were jailed:
- Gennaro Fiorentino, 38, of Wetherell Road, Hackney, who played "the leading role" in the company, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation - Jailed for five years
- Darren Flood, of Ware Road in Hertford, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation between April 2012 and August 2014 - Jailed for two and a half years
- Former finance director Mark Whitehead, 60, from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation - Jailed for three and a half years
- Ex-office manager Vikki King, 39, from Basildon, Essex, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation - Jailed for two years and three months
- Main company salesman Paul Muldoon, 34, from Basildon, who had "made great play of Darren Flood being David Beckham's brother-in-law" during a pitch to a victim who lost £62,000, admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation - Jailed for four years
- Stephen Todd, 37, of Blackwall Way, Tower Hamlets, who is currently in prison for fraud, admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation - Had an extra year added to sentence
- Jonathan Docker 32, of High Road, Chigwell, Essex, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation - Jailed for two and a half years