Financier who fleeced Commonwealth diplomat’s daughter of £210,000 jailed for nearly five years

Financier who made Commonwealth diplomat’s daughter homeless when he fleeced her of £210,000 to blow on young girlfriends is jailed for nearly five years

  • Maurice Kelly, 64, swindled Sarah Robertson using ‘Ponzi-style pyramid scheme’
  • Kelly returned part of Ms Robertson’s investment as ‘returns on what she put in’
  • Victim lost her home, suffered depression and said she no longer trusts others
  • Kelly previously accused of cheating Ms Robertson’s mother out of £1.1million

Maurice Kelly admitted fleecing the diplomat's daughter out of £210,000, leaving her homeless, depressed and 'unable to trust'

Maurice Kelly admitted fleecing the diplomat’s daughter out of £210,000, leaving her homeless, depressed and ‘unable to trust’

A financier who made a Commonwealth diplomat’s daughter homeless when he fleeced her to spend a fortune on his young girlfriends has been jailed for almost five years.

Maurice Kelly, 64, swindled £212,223 from literary translator Sarah Robertson between 27 November 2014 and 23 March 2016.

The victim thought she was investing in shares in an asset management firm when she was in fact funding Kelly’s ‘lavish lifestyle’.

Prosecutor Gareth Munday described how Kelly set up Tam Asset Management Ltd ‘under the guise of an investment management company’.

‘By the time Sarah Robertson came it was clearly a Ponzi-style pyramid scheme,’ he said.

‘She gave her mother’s inheritance and also the sale price of her house.

Ms Robertson continuously chased Kelly for investment returns but ultimately only received £28,000 of her own money back.

‘She was told when she was given money that it demonstrated the success of the business, but what was given back to her was part of her original capital investment and other investors in the business.

‘It was just her capital investment dripping back to her.’

‘Ms Robertson was being drip-fed more money and Mr Kelly tried to convince her to invest further in property in Portugal. Clearly that was an attempt to defer and put-off payments to all investors.’

Kelly even took Ms Robertson to see the Portuguese properties he claimed he had purchased for others and convinced her to purchase and part-purchase four properties herself.

When Ms Robertson threatened to report Kelly (pictured today), he asked her: 'Do you want to take on the big boys?' But when his firm collapsed, it was revealed he had no money at all

When Ms Robertson threatened to report Kelly (pictured today), he asked her: ‘Do you want to take on the big boys?’ But when his firm collapsed, it was revealed he had no money at all

When time passed and promises that money would be paid were broken, Ms Robertson threatened to report him, only for Kelly to ask: ‘Do you want to take on the big boys?’

‘Unfortunately, Mr Kelly’s lies were laid bare when Tam collapsed, and it was revealed that Tam held no money whatsoever,’ the prosecutor said.

In a statement read out in court, Ms Robertson said; ‘I am now homeless. I spend most of my life in a hostel and I have no chance of living in London again.’

She has suffered from depression and lost her ability to trust others.

‘I have huge debts. For all intents and purposes my life has been destroyed,’ she added.

Ms Robertson told Kelly: ‘You took a wrecking ball to my life.’

Mr Munday said: ‘He was clearly obtaining victims and targeting them when they were vulnerable and when they had inheritance money, inviting them to sell their homes to invest in his scheme.’

Using Ms Robertson’s and other investors’ money Kelly bought a £50,000 sports car, a £60,000 thousand Land Rover and even helped buy his friend a car with another £50,000.

More than £4,000 thousand went towards his girlfriend’s 30th birthday and he supported another girlfriend’s acting career by spending £26,000 on her TV pilot.

On one occasion he even spent £130,000 to cover a confiscation order for somebody’s drug conviction in Brighton Crown Court.

Kelly spent and £80,000 on rent for his own flat.

Patsy Robertson died from heart failure aged 86 in August 2020. She was a senior Commonwealth diplomat from 1983 to 1994

Patsy Robertson died from heart failure aged 86 in August 2020. She was a senior Commonwealth diplomat from 1983 to 1994

Judge Martin Griffiths told Kelly: ‘You obtained those amounts from Sarah Robertson for the purpose of purchasing shares in a company, but you never did.

‘Moving on from scheme to scheme, you took her to Portugal to look at properties when the whole edifice came to nothing, there was nothing.’

‘She had a London flat, she now can’t afford it. She has been taken away from where she wants to live. Her situation is precarious in the extreme and this has had a serious detrimental effect.

‘I’m not surprised you are taking anti-depressants coming to terms with the harm you caused her. You painted a completely false picture of the situation.’

Kelly was previously accused of cheating Ms Robertson’s mother, Jamaican activist Patsy Robertson, out of £1.1m but the charge was ordered to lie on file.

Patsy Robertson served as Director of Information for Commonwealth Secretariat and Official Spokesperson for the Commonwealth between 1983 and 1994.

She died from heart failure aged 86 on August 25, 2020.

According to the indictment, Kelly duped the ambassador into handing over the money by pretending he would invest it on her behalf in ‘property schemes’ between 4 August 2014 and 29 September 2014.

But documents were handed to the prosecution calling ‘into question’ the accuracy of Patsy Robertson’s statement.

As a result the charge was ordered to lie on the court file.

Patsy Robertson was a prominent voice for freedom fighters in South Africa, hosting meetings between anti-apartheid leaders at her stately home in Ebury Street, Belgravia throughout the 1960s.

In 1964 she married Old Etonian Calum Robertson with whom she had three children and embraced a coterie of celebrity friends.

Among those in her circle were African-American novelist James Baldwin and Sir Shridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal, the Commonwealth secretary general.

Kelly, of Schofield Street, Manchester, sentenced to four years and 11 months at Southwark Crown Court for two counts of fraud.

He pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial on 27 April this year.

He is also disqualified from being the director of a company for six years.

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