Paul Henderson, of Mansion Heights in Whickham, targeted 23 victims across the region to steal money from them through investment fraud.
Officers from the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU) were first made aware of suspicions surrounding the 55-year-old in 2018.
An investigation was carried out into his suspected dodgy dealings, which involved complex inquiries such as gathering bank account information, document recovery and identifying victims.
As a result of the investigation, Henderson was arrested in March 2018 and charged with several fraud offences.
On January 27, 2023, Henderson pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation at Newcastle Crown Court.
It was revealed that he had been conducting several fraudulent schemes and using money from new schemes to help sell others to unsuspecting victims between 2012 and 2018.
On Thursday, April 20, Henderson appeared before the same court and was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison.
During the hearing, a number of victims spoke about the damage that Henderson had caused to their lives.
One victim said: “Our lives have been completely altered. Paul took our money that was for our retirement.
“Money that we can never make up as we are pensioners, money that he knew he could not and would not pay back.”
Another spoke on behalf of her son, who was a victim of Henderson’s schemes but had sadly passed away from Covid as the legal proceedings were taking place.
She spoke of her “kind child” who had said he would take less than the full amount that he had lost so other victims could receive some of their money back as well.
After Henderson was sentenced, T/DI Thomas Maughan, of NEROCU, commented: “Firstly I want to thank victims for speaking up and all their work during the investigation, they have been a big part of securing this outcome.
“Henderson has shown no consideration for the impact his criminal actions has on his victims and how their lives are changed forever. He is a cruel and deceptive man who will now face the consequences of his choices.
“Finally, I urge others looking to invest money to take a step back- if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Always take financial advice from a trusted professional before investing and parting with any money.
“People like Henderson are looking to exploit trusting people who have saved and worked hard.”
DCI Clare Chandler, head of economic crime at NEROCU, added: “Economic crime poses an increasingly complex threat to UK national security and prosperity.
“Criminals continue to seek ways to commit, and benefit from, economic crime including fraud and money laundering, fuelling serious organised crime, and causing harm to people’s finances, wellbeing, and the interests of legitimate businesses.
“The North East Regional Economic Crime Unit are fully committed to pursuing criminals and enablers of economic crime.”
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