Church elder who stole woman’s £600,000 savings is ordered to repay just £1

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Church elder who stole woman’s £600,000 savings and told her he was going to an offshore scheme that didn’t exist is ordered to pay back just £1

  • David Vaughan Jones tricked his congregation into recommending a bogus plan
  • The 83-year-old posed as a respected tax adviser to lure others into the scam
  • Businesswoman Sharon Myler ‘biggest loser’ scammed out of £606,000
  • But investigators found no trace of the money and he was ordered to pay just £1

Disbarred lawyer David Vaughan Jones, 83, swindled members of his congregation out of their money by recommending the fake plan

A church elder who stole a woman’s £600,000 savings and told her it was part of an offshore scheme that didn’t exist has been ordered to repay just £1.

Disbarred lawyer David Vaughan Jones, 83, cheated members of his congregation out of their money by recommending the bogus plan.

Jones, one of the founders of the Evangelical Church in Newtown, Powys, posed as a respected tax adviser to lure other members of his congregation into the scam.

A court has heard businesswoman Sharon Myler was the ‘biggest loser’, victim of £606,000 fraud.

Prosecutor James Davis explained how she only realized the scam when he was jailed for other financial fraud.

“He persuaded clients to invest in offshore accounts which he believed would offer a much better return than investing in this country,” Davis said.

“But the police found no evidence that he ever invested in offshore accounts. One could only conclude that the funds never existed.

Mold Crown Court heard Miss Myler hand over six separate amounts ranging from £30,000 to £160,000 to Jones.

But investigators found no trace of the money – and he was ordered to pay just a nominal £1.

“A financial investigation found no realizable assets to contribute to this figure,” Davis said.

Investigators found no trace of the money - and Jones (pictured) was ordered to pay just a nominal £1

Investigators found no trace of the money – and Jones (pictured) was ordered to pay just a nominal £1

Jones, one of the founders of the Evangelical Church in Newtown, Powys, posed as a respected tax adviser to lure other members of his congregation into the scam.

Jones, one of the founders of the Evangelical Church in Newtown, Powys, posed as a respected tax adviser to lure other members of his congregation into the scam.

“The accused benefits from a private and public pension. His honor is therefore invited to place a simple nominal order of £1 today. Clearly, should any strengths materialize in the future, this is a matter that can and should be revisited.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Myler said: ‘David Jones stole my life savings causing tremendous financial and personal hardship. He betrayed my trust, lied constantly and stole a lot of money from me. I had to borrow money from my family, which was extremely embarrassing.

But in reality, he had no financial qualifications and was actually a disgraced former lawyer who was disbarred from the Law Society in the early 1990s.

The court heard the ‘prominent’ Jones used his influence in the church to persuade members to part with large sums of money over a 20-year period.

Judge Niclas Parry told Jones, of Llandrinio, Powys, the money was nowhere to be found.

He said: ‘It should be on the record that there was an investigation by officers whose profession it is to investigate such matters.

“Amazingly, given the amount of money that was stolen, they just can’t find it. It is fair to say that the investigation will continue and if any assets are found this order will be reviewed.

“There are people who still beg me to do something about it, who naturally believe that I let them down.

“I just want them to know that there are people who are investigating and have been investigating to see where the remaining money is. These people have suffered such enormous losses.

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