SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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HMA v Alastair Greig

 

May 21, 2020

At the High Court in Edinburgh today Lord Tyre sentenced Alastair Greig to 14 years' imprisonment after the offender was convicted of large scale fraud.

On sentencing, Lord Tyre made the following statement in court:

“By the unanimous verdict of the jury you were convicted of all of the charges on the indictment. This came as no surprise to those of us who had heard the overwhelming evidence which, as the jury decided, proved beyond reasonable doubt that you were guilty of committing a fraud on an enormous scale.

It is all the more astonishing that even now, in your discussion with the social worker who was tasked to prepare a report, you continue to deny responsibility and to claim to be dumbfounded at having been convicted. If that is truly your position, I can only conclude that you are as adept at deceiving yourself as you were at deceiving the victims of your fraudulent Ponzi scheme. 

I have read the victim impact statements provided by a number, but by no means all, of the people who lost pensions and life savings because they believed what you told them about where their precious money was to be invested, and your false guarantees as to its safety.  The statements reflect the tone of the evidence we heard from people who had been left to face retirement without the cushion of savings that they had expected to enjoy. It may be that some of these people will recover some of their losses through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, but that does not of itself reflect any credit on you.

We also heard the evidence of the financial advisers engaged by Midas who were themselves duped into encouraging their clients – many of whom were personal friends – to entrust their savings to you. Many of these people have had their lives ruined by the fallout from the failure of the scheme, and yet you persist in asserting – without a shred of evidence led at the trial to justify it – that they were the ones responsible for the fraud, and that they are now conspiring to place the blame on you, and were all lying in their evidence to the Court.

In the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves, I will not make this statement any longer than it has to be. I have listened to what has been said on your behalf by way of mitigation, and I take account of the fact that you have no relevant previous convictions. I bear in mind that you are 66 years of age, and that you have the health issues that have been described. Beyond that I find very little to take into account by way of mitigation.

On the other hand I consider that there are some very weighty aggravating factors which add to the seriousness of these offences:

  • The total sum of money that you obtained by fraud is extremely large – over £13 million pounds.
  • The amount that you helped yourself to in order to fund a lavish lifestyle was also extremely large – almost £6 million found its way into your own bank accounts, and we heard ample evidence of the ways in which you spent this money or used it to expand your personal fortune. 
  • The period of time over which you operated the fraud was a very long one, beginning while you were with Park Row and continuing throughout the existence of Midas until, as was inevitably going to happen one day, the funds ran out and the deception was exposed.
  • Most of all, I take account of the devastating impact that this fraud has had on a very large number of people, whose trust you deliberately and cruelly betrayed for your own personal benefit. You knew that the money you obtained from these people was earning nothing. You helped yourself to it whenever you felt like it. Right until the end you encouraged friends to deposit funds to maintain the pretence, even when you must have known that they would probably lose everything.

All of these factors lead me to the conclusion that this is an offence at the top end of the scale. Not only is a custodial sentence inevitable, but the period of that sentence must be very substantial.

I turn therefore to the charges in the indictment.

On charge 1, the most serious charge, I sentence you to imprisonment for a period of 14 years, to run from 12 March 2020 when you were remanded in custody.

On charge 2, the charge of unauthorised deposit taking, I sentence you to imprisonment for the statutory maximum period of 2 years, that period to run concurrently with the sentence on charge 1.

On charge 3, the charge of converting and transferring proceeds of crime, I sentence you to imprisonment for a period of 7 years, that period also to run concurrently with the sentence on charge 1.

You will now have ample time to reflect on the harm that you have caused to others.  Although it is not the reason why I selected it, the period of 14 years happens to amount to around one month for each of the victims of your fraud. You may wish to reflect on that.

On the matter of director’s disqualification, I am not persuaded that the circumstances of this case fall within section 2(1) of the Company Directors’ Disqualification Act 1986. I do not consider that the offences of which you have been convicted constitute offences in connection with the management of Midas. In so far as charge 2 could be said to amount to a failure of management, I consider that it has been fully addressed by the sentence that I have imposed, and that any disqualification would simply be double punishment. I therefore make no disqualification order.”

15 April 2020