A man has been jailed for more than two years after friends, his ex-partner and colleagues invested almost £90,000 in a fictitious company.
Matthew Normyle, of Lord Street, Morecambe, invited the victims to invest in his boiler business which he claimed would ensure them modest returns after 90 days.
The 41-year-old committed the offences while he was living in Salford and Rochdale with the fraud totalling £87,250.
He was today (January 4) sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison for fraud by false representation.
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The first of his victims had known Normyle since 2012 and believed him to be a good friend. In May 2018 the victim had returned to the UK after living abroad and moved into Normyle’s flat.
Normyle offered him an investment opportunity in his newly set up boiler company ‘Elite Heating’, which he claimed would sell and supply boilers to a building company.
Elite Heating never existed and was a front for his fraudulent activities, Manchester Crown Court heard.
The victim invested £10,000, sending the amount to an account in Normyle’s name. The following month, the victim invested a further £10,000, this time to finance industrial boilers, sending the money to the same account.
The payouts promised to the victim for these investments was supposed to start in August, but Normyle claimed that due to tax purposes this would be delayed until September. This then became December after he convinced the victim to allow his investment to accrue.
Following a night out together, the victim invested a further £3,000 and when Normyle claimed further delays were caused by a legal dispute with a building company, the victim paid a further £2,000 in cash to cover a tax form for court.
The victim never received his investment return and by the start of 2020 had become suspicious, believing Normyle was pretending to be his own accountant called ‘Howie’ to send emails, texts and documents.
Normyle then claimed that ‘Howie’ had stolen money from Elite Heating, again resulting in a delay in paying out. The victim lost £25,000 in total
The second victim had also known Normyle for around seven or eight years, and in September 2019, Normyle offered him the chance to invest in Elite Heating. The victim started with a small investment, but between September and November 2019, he made seven transactions to Normyle’s bank account totalling £25,500.
The victim used money from his overdraft, loans and money left for his children in order to afford the investment, believing the turnaround to be quick and trusting Normyle as he had known him for so long.
It wasn’t long before excuses were made about why the payment would be late and Normyle was aware of the victim’s financial situation.
Normyle paid £5,000 back to the victim who was told he would have to wait until February for any more, and then informed him in March that the accountant for the business “Howie” had stolen the money, but insurance should pay out and paid back a further £5,000.
The second victim lost £15,500 in total.
The third victim was a friend of the second, who also invested in Normyle’s scheme to the tune of £26,000 between October and December 2019 after making satisfactory checks that Normyle was dealing with the building company as he claimed.
However, payouts again were never received and when he wanted to take money back out of the company, he was informed accountant ‘Howie’ and stolen the money and an investigation was ongoing with the bank into it.
Two further victims were also former colleagues of Normyle, who invested £7,500 and £5,000 respectively. A sixth victim met Normyle through a friend, paying in £5,000, and Normyle’s former partner also lost £3,250 to the scheme.
Not only had Normyle conned his friends out of money, he also exploited a long-term customer, claiming a new boiler he had previously fitted was unsafe, or there were serious faults, alleging expensive repairs were required.
Following attempts by the victims to meet with Normyle, he was reported to police and following numerous unsuccessful attempts to speak with him, Normyle was arrested at Manchester Airport on 28 May 2021 on his return to the UK from Spain.
Detective Constable Clara Williams, from GMP’s Complex Fraud Investigation Team, said: “Normyle made the despicable decision to take advantage of his friends, colleagues and former partner to pay off his own debts and fund his own lifestyle and we’re pleased that he is being punished for his crimes.
“His actions have had a devastating impact on those around him, purely to cover his own back after living well beyond his means, and racking up debts with various loan companies.
“While we’re pleased Normyle will be spending time behind bars, we will be seeking to use Proceeds of Crime legislation so that should Normyle come into any money we can take it and return some of what the victims lost.
“Fighting fraud is a relentless task, but we will continue to work diligently to strip the ill-gotten gains from criminals and I’d like to thank the public for continuing to support our work by reporting fraud, and sharing information. If you see something, or suspect something is wrong, tell us, and we can do something about it.”
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