An adviser who worked for now-defunct UK Expatriates IFA Services has been jailed for three years for stealing more than £330,000 from clients.
Dr Adrian John Bancroft took £336,000 from five customers during a seven-year scam until his arrest last year.
He was jailed for three years at Teesside Crown Court yesterday after police brought 18 charges against him. He had pleaded guilty to all charges on 22 July.
They included using dishonesty and false representation to make gain.
Bancroft is listed on the FSA Register as being approved for customer and compliance functions at UK Expatriates Independent Financial Advisory Services (UKEIFAS).
Last May, the FSA warned consumers who bought financial products through UKEIFAS their investments may not be as safe as they thought.
It said the company, which traded from offices in both Middlesbrough and its registered address in Wrexham, north Wales, appeared to have closed down, but may have taken some of its customers' money with it.
According to online news site the Leader, Bancroft answered an advertisement in a local newspaper to become an IFA in 2002 after failing to get a job in palaeontology despite obtaining a Phd from Durham University.
It said the business initially did well but, by 2004, as his client list shrunk, Bancroft resorted to dishonest practices to "prop up a pretty routine life".
When he was arrested last year, he told police: "I've lived a complete and utter fabrication...I've just woven this web for myself."
The court heard one of the victims - a 71-year-old man from Hartlepool who lost £115,000 - has since been widowed and has had to sell his home and move to Spain.
The victim said he lay awake at night feeling physically sick because of the position he has been left in.
Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said: "He is now forced to live an isolated, penny-pinching existence away from his friends while still grieving the loss of his wife."
Bancroft's barrister said the adviser would lose all his assets and would "do all he can from now onwards to put things right".
EIS and Seed EIS sectors
'Truly making a difference'
Avoidance, evasion and non-compliance
From 6 April 2019