Corrupt financial advisers Rikki Nichols and Mark Kelly jailed for six years

Two financial advisers who lived a life of luxury after convincing hundreds of pension holders to transfer their plans to a shell company in a £20m scam were each jailed for six years today.

Rikki Nicholls, 56, and Mark Kelly, 51, persuaded 285 victims to move their plans to their company PCD Wealth and Pensions between September 2006 and April 2013.

The money was funneled into risky investments without the consent of pension holders who were charged hidden fees while the fraudsters paid themselves huge bonuses, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Nicholls and Kelly denied but were convicted of conspiracy to defraud and transfer criminal property after a trial that lasted more than five months.

Rikki Nicholls, 56, pictured, and Mark Kelly, 51, persuaded 285 victims to transfer their plans to their company PCD Wealth and Pensions between September 2006 and April 2013.

Mark Kelly, pictured, and his partner Nichols funneled the money into risky investments without the consent of pension holders who were charged hidden fees while the fraudsters paid themselves huge bonuses.

Mark Kelly, pictured, and his partner Nichols funneled the money into risky investments without the consent of pension holders who were charged hidden fees while the fraudsters paid themselves huge bonuses.

Nicholls and Kelly, pictured, denied but were convicted of conspiracy to defraud and transfer criminal property after a trial that lasted more than five months.

Nicholls and Kelly, pictured, denied but were convicted of conspiracy to defraud and transfer criminal property after a trial that lasted more than five months.

Prosecutor Alex Mills has previously said “there were very substantial actual losses and a very substantial risk of loss.”

“The two defendants were only concerned with their own financial gain.”

In an impact statement read in court, John Braddick, 77, said his losses had caused him “physical, emotional and mental suffering”.

Mills said: ‘His life was put on hold. He couldn’t plan for his future’ and he spent less time with his wife due to the ‘unnecessary strain on their relationship’.

Mr. Braddick, who was undergoing treatment for various conditions, feels “completely betrayed”.

John Savage, 59, said he now suffers from severe depression and low self-esteem.

“I feel stupid for falling for such a scheme,” he said in his impact statement.

Geoffrey Williams, 65, described the experience as a “nightmare” and said “the whole thing is always in the background”.

Kelly’s defense attorney, David Wood, argued that intentional loss was not a factor in this case.

‘These schemes were meant to work. If these funds had worked as planned, everyone would have made money, including the investment holders.’

Both were jailed for six years by Southwark Crown Court after being found guilty after the marathon trial.

Both were jailed for six years by Southwark Crown Court after being found guilty after the marathon trial.

He said that Equitable Life, one of the companies from which retirees were encouraged to divert their money, was doing poorly at the time.

“A lot of people wanted to get their money out of Equitable Life because they were losing money.”

Victim, Denis Mountford of Birmingham

‘When I first found out that my pension fund was rapidly declining and inaccessible, I was very angry with myself for trusting poor financial advisers who had charged a high percentage of commission and I was also disgusted with them.

‘I don’t know how you can tell if a financial advisor is totally trustworthy except by recommendations from people you can trust and I hope this case is a warning to others.

‘During this time, the legal and investigative officers have been very helpful and considerate and have given me confidence in the legal proceedings.’

‘This is an isolated offense. There have been no offenses since then. Mr. Kelly is a hard-working, loyal and loving husband and father with many positive qualities.’

‘He will undoubtedly never return to court again. He understands the disaster this sentence represents for him and his family. I ask you to make the sentence as short as possible.

Nicholls’ defense attorney, Nathaniel Rudolf, said: “We reiterate that there was never any intent to cause loss.” The intention was to win. It was only in everyone’s interest that the plan succeed.

Several members of Nicholls’s family, including his sister, wrote letters to the court that Rudolf said “reflect the whole man, the impact on his children and particularly his grandchildren”.

“They do not seek to minimize what he has done,” added his lawyer.

“It is a testament to the man before you today that, when he was released on bail, he went to Dubai to see his daughter and grandson and then came back.”

Nicholls now suffers from depression and is taking medication, the court heard.

Judge Adam Hiddleston accepted that both Kelly and Nicholls are “two men of good character so far”, but said that “each of you has lost your good name”.

“It has been said that it is in everyone’s interest that the plan succeeds,” the judge said.

But I don’t think that was your main goal. His goal was to earn as much money as possible.

‘Each of you made a considerable amount of money and in a short period of time.’

You lived well and you spent it. Vacations were taken. Houses were bought and furnished well.

“Your schematic is what was going on and you yourself directed the documents so that investors were completely in the dark.”

‘I am satisfied that the fraudulent activity took place over a significant period of time.

Each of you abused your positions of power. You let down those who trusted you a lot and entrusted you with their life savings.

Nicholls, from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire and Kelly, from Wilmslow, Cheshire received six-year prison sentences.

Leave a Comment