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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant jailed over £4.5 million scam

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant jailed over £4.5 million scam

A former contestant on the quiz show has been jailed for more than six years

A former contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire has been jailed for six-and-a-half years after being convicted of multiple offences including fraud and money laundering.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that 75-year-old Jeff Arundell received his sentence after making over £4.5 million in spread betting 'which he achieved in part by defrauding people'.

He was convicted on multiple offences of fraud and money laundering relating to financial business he conducted in 2016 and 2017.

Arundell was also sentenced for a separate offence of fraud where he used power of attorney to take approximately £260,000 from his now deceased mother and bought a Bentley car.

The 75-year-old appeared on two episodes of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in 2000, though he only walked away with £1,000 from his time on the show.

Jeff Arundell was jailed for six-and-a-half years after being convicted of fraud and money laundering.

While he made it into the big chair after winning the 'fastest finger first' he only got a couple of questions in before his episode ended.

When he returned to the show he did not last long as he only got six questions in total correct, having used a lifeline on both the £1,000 and £2,000 question.

Arundell got his £4,000 question wrong, which knocked his prize total back down to £1,000 and he ended up leaving the show.

Now he faces more than six years behind bars after being jailed, with police saying that in November 2016 he invited a friend to join him in what he claimed was a 'guaranteed money-making investment'.

Arundell told his friend that he had information on shares in a pharmaceutical company which he claimed were set to increase in value soon.

Arundell took around £100,000 from investors and guaranteed he'd pay it back if he lost it.

He promised his friend and their family members who also put money in that he would guarantee the around £100,000 they gave him to invest on their behalf.

The next month he put the money on a number of spread betting trades, where investors don't actually own the asset and instead just speculate on whether its price will rise or fall.

Arundell told people who'd give him their money that he'd lost it but couldn't repay them as he had guaranteed to do so.

Police found he had actually made money on some of his trades and reinvested it in other spread bets, making over £4.5 million by August 2017.

By this time he'd already been reported to the police which prompted an investigation, Arundell claimed to officers that he could have repaid the investors in December 2016 because he'd received inheritance money from his late mother's estate earlier that year.

Arundell told investors he'd lost the money and couldn't pay them back like he'd promised, but within months he'd made more than £4.5 million.

"We are pleased to secure five guilty verdicts against Arundell following what has been a long drawn out investigation into his fraudulent behaviour," said Dr Kirstie Cogram, manager of Avon and Somerset Police's serious and organised crime investigation team.

"Arundell portrayed himself as an experienced trader in the financial markets.

"He seemingly thought little of defrauding his own family by taking cash from his elderly mother, nor using money from a friend and their family to bankroll his spread betting efforts.

"His actions were deplorable and made all the worse for his victims by misleading officers and refusing to admit to what he had done, meaning two trials were required.

"While these verdicts and prison sentence will no doubt be welcomed by his victims, they do not take away from what they have been through.

"A proceeds of crime hearing will take place at a letter date to ensure he does not profit from his offending; his assets are currently frozen pending that decision.

"We hope this will provide his victims with some financial recompense."

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: UK News, Crime, Money, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire