A man from Southend has been jailed for five years for stealing money from friends after saying he could invest their cash and made them more money.
52 year old Andrew Rayner, from Barling Road, was convicted of committing ten counts of fraud when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court alongside his 49-year-old wife Julia.
She was sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for 18 months for money laundering and also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.
Rayner claimed he was investing in a scheme with BetFair, however the court heard how only a small amount of the money ever made it in to the scheme with the rest going to pay off earlier investors and to fund a lavish lifestyle for the pair.
Dc Ian Bloomfield of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Andrew Rayner has ruined the futures of many families by callously taking over £1,500,000 from his close friends and although they received some money back from the Ponzi scheme their combined losses amount to £783,000.
“He made grandiose promises of returns he was not ever capable of fulfilling in order that he and his wife Julia could live a very comfortable life to which they believed they were entitled, even though neither had jobs and had a history of debt. I hope they reflect on what they ve done to these people whilst the serve their punishments.”