Victims of a £4 million conman have a chance to get money – The Crusader
Victims who have been scammed out of their investments by dishonest adviser Neil Bartlett are daring to hope that they will get their money back in the end.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is investigating 20 complaints against the wealth management firm where he worked. Susan Armstrong, who told Crusader that the adjudicator had provisionally decided that her case be sustained, was one of the first to receive an update from FOS, which has had to traverse a slew of legal complications. When the FOS receives a large number of complaints about the same thing, it usually settles a few of them first, clearing the way for others.
While Susan’s decision is not final, and the outcome may still be challenged or changed, it is the first ray of hope for her and the group after years of coping with devastating losses and great mental agony caused by Bartlett’s crimes.
++ Please contact consumer and small business champion Maisha Frost at [email protected] if you’ve been affected by this issue or believe you’ve been a victim of injustice.
He lived a playboy lifestyle, spending the £4 million he stole, which included people’s life savings and pension nest eggs, on gambling, Russian prostitutes, and luxury holidays. He was approved by the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
He was convicted of fraud in 2018 and is currently serving an eight-year sentence, with the FCA striking him off last year.
From 2013 to 2016, he worked with Abacus Associates, where he made a point of befriending clients before abusing their confidence. They included the elderly and fragile, as well as public servants such as teachers and NHS employees. Some have carried the weight alone, embarrassed and traumatized, and have not confided in their family.
Bartlett enticed them to invest in a private account that he misled them into believing was affiliated with Abacus, and to deposit funds in a NatWest account that would be invested with Standard Life.
Tavistock Partners, which is part of Tavistock Investments, purchased Abacus in 2016 and has battled the accusations, claiming that Bartlett was a freelancer who ran a separate account and that Tavistock Partners is not liable.
“We have every compassion for the victims of Neil Bartlett’s scam, many of whom were not our clients,” it declared last week. Tavistock has followed the procedures set forth in “Brinkwire Summary News.”