Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Five Years for Financial Adviser Who Betrayed the Trust of His Friends

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Five Years for Financial Adviser Who Betrayed the Trust of His Friends

Article excerpt

Byline: Sara Nichol Reporter

AN AWARD-WINNING financial adviser has been jailed for more than five years after masterminding a PS3m fraud.

Alok Dhanda conned 41 of his friends and clients to hand over large sums of cash for a property venture in India.

The 53-year-old, who boasted of having played golf with Sir Bobby Robson and some Newcastle United players, promised his victims they would be investing in Bangalore, an area he described as a new Silicon Valley, where things "couldn't go wrong and large returns would be guaranteed".

But, the once-respected father-oftwo was secretly spending the money on his gambling habits, splashing out on a lavish lifestyle of luxury travel and holidays, repaying the mortgages on his properties and paying off his own debts.

He was the subject of a huge investigation in which police raided his business, Dhanda Financial, on Dean Street, Newcastle, and his home after banks alerted the economic crime unit of cash transactions in his accounts.

Dhanda, of Grove Park Square, Gosforth, had previously pleaded guilty to 37 counts of fraud but asked for another four to be taken into consideration at a sentencing hearing at Newcastle Crown Court.

Jailing Dhanda for five years and eight months, Judge Brian Forster QC said: "The impact upon the many people who trusted you can not be stated in words.

"You have betrayed those who trusted you. You have taken away the secure futures your clients and investors hoped for.

"For your clients, their involvement with you has been devastating and, in every sense, a nightmare.

"What you have done to them continues to haunt they on a daily basis. "Many victim personal impact statements have been read to the court. They speak of the understandable stress you have brought them. They speak of depression. They speak of a loss of a future for the investors and their families. They speak of an inability to take retirement at the planned age and some speak of a loss of hope."

Dhanda's con took place between 2007 and this year. As well as promising to invest money in an Indian property scheme, Dhanda also persuaded some of his friends and clients to give him personal loans. …

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