A ruthless fraudster has been ordered to repay just £1 after scamming his friends, colleagues and ex-partner out of £113,513 under a bogus investment scheme. Matthew Normyle, 41, invited seven people to invest in his boiler business, which he said would provide them with modest returns after 90 days while living in Rochdale.
However, he repeatedly found excuses when he had to repay them, and his investors were massively disbursed, Manchester Crown Court heard. Over the course of two and a half years he took a total of £113,513.26. He repaid a friend £10,000 as they had fallen into financial difficulty, but it was less than £15,000 of what they had already given him.
Normanyle, of Lord Street, Morecambe, was jailed for two years and 10 months in January this year after pleading guilty to eight counts of fraud by false representation. Now, following a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act, he has been ordered to pay back just £1.
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At today’s (4 May) brief hearing, the award was recorded as £113,513 and a forfeiture order was made for the sum of £1 due to Normyle’s limited available assets.
During the previous hearing, prosecutor Claire Thomas detailed every victim who had been affected by Normyle’s offense. The first was Stuart Smith who had known Normyle since 2012 and believed they were “good friends”.
After moving in with Normyle in May 2018, he was offered an investment opportunity as Normyle “knew he had £10,000 after selling his bar overseas”. Normyle said he bought boilers and sold them to Jones Homes as part of his business, which he called “Elite Heating”.
“There were further discussions and he decided to send her the £10,000 as he thought the defendant was a good friend and trusted him,” Ms Thomas said. Mr Smith was due to be paid in August that year, but Normyle said due to tax concerns it would be delayed until September.
Normyle asked for an additional £3,000 investment and later said he was taking Jones Homes to court as they had failed to pay him and needed the money to help him, and Mr Smith gave him 2 £000. Normyle then said the company’s accountant stole the money and was being investigated for fraud. In total, Mr Smith paid her £25,000.
The next victim, Anthony Rooney, was offered a similar investment opportunity and after further discussion he made an investment of £25,500. He also introduced his friend, Mark Grundy, who then invested £26,000 in the scheme.
“Mr. Rooney had taken money from his overdraft, credit cards, loans and money left over for his children,” Ms Thomas continued. “Normyle then repaid him £10,000 as he was in financial difficulty.”
Similar excuses were made, and although he agreed to meet the two men to repay the money, Normyle never showed up.
Another affected victim was Joshua Miller who previously worked with Normyle, who paid £7,500. Also affected was Harry Bourne, a colleague of Normyle who later became a close friend, who invested £5,000; Normyle’s ex-girlfriend Juliana Amaro who invested £3,250 and Craig Day who invested £5,000.
The only exception to the fraud was Dawn Lavery, who learned about Normyle through work he did for her father. She was led to believe by Normyle that her boiler was in an “unsafe condition” and offered her £2,500 to carry out the work.
In the victims’ emotional personal statements, each victim shared their devastation at Normyle’s breach of trust. Mr Rooney said he had to work overtime to maintain his finances, had suffered from depression and felt ’embarrassed and stupid’.
Mr Bourne said Normyle gave him apparently legitimate details and showed him bank statements showing how much money he was making, leading him to believe that if he invested the money he would get it back. “It turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life,” he said.
Mr Grundy said the breach had a big impact on him as he promised his daughter he would help with a deposit for her – but was unable to help her. He said he worked overtime to save money and felt down and depressed.
During a police interview, Normyle told officers that he was in debt with numerous moneylenders and payday loans. ‘He said he was unsure of the current amount, but believed to be around £60,000 and £70,000,’ the prosecutor said.
“He said he picked people who trusted him as targets and admitted the other victims.” Normyle was said to have no previous convictions.
Mitigating, Gerald Baxter said his client expressed remorse and was ashamed of what he had done. “He accepts that what he did was totally wrong and totally dishonest and totally selfish,” he said.
“He accepts that the victims in this case were friends, colleagues and they trusted him, and he took advantage and abused the trust they had in him. He admits he got himself into financial trouble and tried to get out of it through a totally fictitious scheme.
Mr Baxter added that Normyle previously had a good career in the RAF and then worked for British Gas but lost his job and started spending too much.
At sentencing, recorder Daniel Prowse said: ‘All of the victims in this case were hard working people themselves, with hard working families, only to have their money taken away from them.
“So many victims have lost so much money, which demonstrates what a conniving, cold and insensitive fraudster you were. They trusted you and you targeted them because they trusted you.
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