Forex Fraudster Who Spent $320,000 on Single Champagne Bottle Gets More Months in Jail

The period afforded for Alex Hope to satisfy the confiscation order expired on 12 May.

A fraudulent foreign exchange trader who is already in prison for defrauding investors of around $7.3 million has been sentenced to an additional 603 days for failing to pay the full value of a court-ordered penalty, according to the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority.

Back on 30 January 2015, the fake forex trader Alex Hope had already been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment after being found guilty of operating a fraudulent investment scheme. The scam, which has been likened to a Ponzi scheme, claimed to make large returns for investors from the profits of his forex trading.

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On 9 January 2015, Hope was convicted of duping investors out of 5.6 million pounds, having previously pleaded guilty to operating a collective investment scheme without authorisation.

Hope was ordered in February in 2016 to pay back £166,696 through a confiscation order that was made against him, but out of this sum he paid just £1,000 up until the payment deadline of 12 May 2016.

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Between March 2011 and April 2012, more than 100 investors entrusted £5.5 million with Hope who promised to use their monies in trading on the foreign exchange markets. However, instead of making legitimate trades, only 12% of the total sum investors gave was ever traded and when Hope did trade, he lost more than £500,000 of the £650,000 held in his trading accounts.

He was also charged with using the misappropriated funds to fund his extravagant lifestyle. He blew vast sums in casinos, hotels and clubs around the world and infamously dropped £125,000 on a single bottle of champagne.

According to the court findings, he spent more than £1 million in a casino, over £200,000 on designer watches and shoes, £60,000 on foreign travel, and at least £600,000 in bars and nightclubs in London, Miami and New York.

As a result of an FCA investigation, almost £2.65 million of the amount taken from the investors was identified and frozen in accounts controlled by Hope, and returned to investors earlier this year.

Hope will also continue to be liable for the outstanding debt in relation to the confiscation order, even after having served the sentence in default of payment.

Mark Steward, Director of Enforcement at the FCA, commented today: “Mr Hope spent a significant proportion of the remainder of the funds on a lavish lifestyle, including gifts to family and friends. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the value of tainted gifts can be recovered and Mr Hope was ordered to pay a sum equal to the value of the gifts he made to friends and family.”

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