Fraud probe into finance company

A major fraud probe is underway after an Eastbourne finance company went bust owing hundreds of thousands of pounds to individual investors.

And John Field, a director at Meads Financial Consultants Ltd, which up until recently operated in Gildredge Road, has been quizzed by detectives on suspicion of inventing fake schemes and getting people to invest their life savings in them.

The alleged scam only came to light when fellow director and John Field’s son, Wayne Field, noticed financial irregularities and called in the authorities and police. Wayne Field also put the company, a financial advice and mortgage broker service, into voluntary liquidation.

Papers lodged at Companies House show individual creditors are owed more than £713,000. One Eastbourne couple are said to have invested their life savings of £118,750 in a fictitious scheme.

The economic crime unit at Sussex Police is investigating and appealing for anyone who may have been given what the force called ‘financial advice’ from Meads Financial Consultants Ltd in Eastbourne and feel they may have been misled with their investments.

Detective Constable Valerie Henwood said, “It is alleged the firm may have deceived up to 31 victims into investing in fictitious investments.

“This could be fraud by abuse of position and we believe this could have been going on from 2004 until 2013 when the company went into insolvency.There may be other victims out there who have invested in these schemes with the company and we need to hear from them.”

The force has confirmed that 76-year-old John Field from Cooden was interviewed by police as part of the investigation.

Wayne Field told the Herald this week, “I carried out an internal investigation as a result of which I reported matters to the Financial Conduct Authority and police, therefore I am a potential witness against my father and because of this I cannot make any further comment.”

Maxine Reid and Andrew Tate, of Reeves & Co LLP, were appointed joint liquidators of Meads Financial Consultants Ltd.

Maxine Reid said, “The company was voluntarily placed into liquidation following financial irregularities which resulted in the suspension of the company as an agent of its support network on August 8 2013.

“Within the statement of assets and liabilities which was presented to the meeting of creditors, the company reported a deficiency of £912,000, of which it was estimated that £713,000 related to private investors.

“The primary duty of a liquidator is to realise assets for the benefit of the company’s creditors and to investigate the reasons for the failure of the company.

“Our investigations into the failure of the company continue. Our role is to try to realise any assets of the company to get money back to investors if we can. We sympathise with those who have been affected by this and would request that if anyone believes they may have a claim against the company and have not yet received any correspondence from us, that they contact my office to lodge their claim.

“If anyone has information with regards to the company’s affairs which they feel the liquidators should be made aware of, they should contact me on 810760 and provide full details in writing as soon as possible.”

Police are also appealing for anyone who believes they may be an alleged victim or have any information to contact police on 101 quoting 1318 of 08/6.