Sheffield fraudster jailed after forging clients signatures on documents

Martin Rigney
Martin Rigney
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A Sheffield financial adviser has been jailed after forging client's signatures on documents losing them thousands of pounds.

Martin Rigney, aged 68, of King Edwards, Rivelin was jailed for seven years by judge Robert Egbuna at Derby Crown Court.

The case came to the attention of police in June 2012 following an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority into Rigney and his company, Topps Rogers Financial Management.

The court previously heard Rigney told police he had invested money with his clients’ consent but there are 'clients who will disagree'.

Mr Rigney used to trade under Topps Rogers Financial Management and his clients were generally retired, elderly and some have since died and their funds were invested in the Poland Geared Growth Property Fund - known as the Polish Fund.

Clients were originally advised to invest via Royal Skandia bonds with a safe spread of investments in various funds before Mr Rigney was said to have forged signatures and switched investments to the Polish Fund.

Prosecuting barrister Martin Hurst stated this was an investment in the Polish property market but stressed it was an Unregulated Collected Investment Scheme and unsuitable for the majority of Mr Rigney’s clients who required safe, non-risk investments to pay school and nursing fees, or just wanted money to live on.

Mr Hurst claimed money originally placed into a Royal Skandia bond and then into the Curzon Capital Investment Poland Geared Growth Fund yielded £371,149 as Mr Rigney’s commission income for advising people to go into the Polish Fund.

He argued Mr Rigney allegedly signed documents on the clients’ behalf and was said to have forged their signatures on letters telling him what to do or on documents so he could hide what he was doing.

But Mr Rigney told police that due to the unstable nature of the stock market he was asked to move money and put it into bricks and mortar and that was why he invested clients’ money into Curzon Capital and the Polish Fund. However, that fund was suspended in 2008.

Rigney denied the charges but was found guilty of 16 counts of forgery after a ten week trial on Thursday, July 20. He was sentenced on Friday.

Detective Constable Julie Wheeldon, who led the investigation, said: “Martin Rigney committed abhorrent abuses of trust against his clients, who were consequently caused financial difficulty and emotional distress.

“Our thorough and lengthy investigation demonstrates how seriously we take this kind of offence.

“Today’s passing of a seven year sentence provides a significant deterrent to others that might think of defrauding trusting clients.”