A company director who led a lavish lifestyle with venture capital money rather than investing it into the business has been jailed.
Alan Chandler, 46, of energy company Soleil Holdings Ltd, used a forged document to persuade a venture capital company to invest £3m in his green energy company and falsely claimed that he was a multi-millionaire.
Having secured the money for his business, which converted straw into electricity, he then went on to use the capital for his own purposes enjoying an extravagant lifestyle buying lavish cars, and a rented farmhouse near Stamford and enjoying exotic vacations, leaving the company to flounder.
The Courts heard how Chandler gained the confidence of Fredrik Werner and Agne Svensson, who operated a Monaco-based venture capital company called Marine Life, by weaving a web of lies.
These included claiming: he was the son of a High Court Judge, had numerous properties across the UK and Europe,and that he had received 150,000 shares worth £5 million after departing his previous company. Later it transpired that these documents had been forged too, and the shares had been worth just £56,000.
Having attained the investment Chandler went on to splurge the money funding his extravagant lifestyle and attempted to cover his tracks by repeatedly claiming that
Consequently, the two investors lost the £3m after the company collapsed.
Chandler, who was previously known as Mark Lamb, admitted to three charges of fraud and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment .
Recorder Paul Mann QC, sentencing, told Chandler: “If the investors had known the truth, they would have cut their losses.
“As it was they became sucked into making more payments as a result of your assurances.
“They have lost every penny they invested with you. You just fed them lies.
“You created a fictional lifestyle.
“In every sense of the word you have lived your life as a professional conman.
“Your desire to get rich quick is one of the reasons why the business failed.”
Jonathon Dee, prosecuting, said that Chandler made a series of false claims to win the investment and explained how Mr Werner and Mr Svensson conducted due diligence but “nothing cropped up.”
In an attempt to cover his tracks, when the investors grew restless Chandler claimed he couldn’t provide them with up to date financial information due to a fire, and claimed his firm was due an insurance payout of £750,000.
Dee went on to explain that Chandler eventually came clean after insurers paid out only a fraction of this amount , paying a mere £23,000 for the fire.
Mr Dee said: “He finally realised that the business had failed.
“There was a meeting where Mr Werner and Mr Svensson learned the truth. What they learned greatly shocked them.”
Greg Johnson, Chandler’s defence lawyer, said: “This was a company that was viable. It could have succeeded. He was trying to make the company succeed.”