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Ex-Premier League player faces jail time and ordered to wear a tag

Ex-Premier League player Richard Rufus faces jail time and has been ordered to wear a tag for scamming his own family and friends.

The 47 year old, used the names of stars including Rio Ferdinand to entice investors, but now faces time behind bars after being found guilty of an £8 million trading scam.

The ex-Charlton defender fooled friends and family members into handing over their money, making “colossal sums” and promied returns of up to 60% a year.

He claimed to have been a successful foreign trader, and was headhunted in the UK by some of the largest financial institutions, such as Morgan Stanley, Coutts Bank, and Barclays.

Rufus, who made nearly 300 appearances for the Addicks since joining the club in 1993, told investors that current and former footballers, including Ferdinand, were already on board.

Prosecutors claimed that he had lost “hand over fist” and used some of the funds for investors to repay him in a “pyramid scheme”.

However, he seemed “able to maintain the lifestyle of a football player” even after being forced to retire in 2004 due to a knee injury.

During a four-week trial, she told jurors that Rufus was a “trapper of wealth”, who lived in large five-bedroom houses on private estates in Purley, south London. He also drove a Bentley and wore a Rolex watch, often boasting about his luxurious life.

Southwark Crown Court heard that he had received approximately £15 million from Kingsway International Christian Centre, which included around £5 million from KICC (Kingsway International Christian Centre), a church of which he was a trustee and member.

Rufus denied that the investment was low-risk or that he used any money for personal gain.

After a lengthy jury deliberation, he was found guilty on three counts of fraud. He used approximately £2 million to purchase criminal property, and carried out a regulated act without authorisation. This happened between May 2007 and April 2012.

He was found not guilty of an allegation regarding investors he had never met. However, the total fraud that he was convicted for amounted just to £8 million, which includes the £5.1 million from KICC.

Judge Dafna Spiros released Rufus on bail prior to his sentencing hearing, but said that the inevitable sentence would be one of custody.

According to the court, Rufus was on good terms with Charlton after his retirement. He was then invited to be an ambassador for a charity that is closely associated with the club.

He was described as “charismatic, energetic” and claimed that he had a track record of being successful in foreign exchange trading to convince people to part with their money.

Ms Organ claimed that Rufus suffered “huge losses” while approximately £2 million was put in his personal accounts to invest. However, the funds were never transferred into Rufus’ trading account.

Paul Elliott, ex-Chelsea and Charlton defender, was one of the investors. Elliott said Rufus traded for friends, family, and members his church.

He said, “He was clear to state he had made enormous sums of money for his family, friends, and church.”

“And he also stated that he had substantial funds for other professional (footballer), colleagues.”

Between October 2008 and February 2011, Mr Elliott paid Rufus £425,000. Ms Organ claimed that the returns were not from successful trading, but rather from conning more people to invest in the scheme.

According to the court, Rufus had told Ronabir Deb that another investor, Rio Ferdinand, had made investments with him.

Reports claim Mr Deb lost his capital of £47,000 while 23 other people who invested through him lost over £1.7 million pounds.

The court heard that Rufus earned a monthly rental income of £850, but made “personal” payments totalling £1.5million over the period. These included a £9,000-per month mortgage, £200,0000 motoring costs, and transfers to his wife’s bank account.

Ms Organ stated that Richard Rufus was unable to fund his lifestyle if he used the money he received from investors as part fraud.

He was found guilty of fraud, illegal trading and possessing criminal property and has been bailed ahead of sentencing next month is ordered to wear a tag.

In his decade in Charlton’s first team squad, he was regarded as one of the team’s most important players. This was recognised by three player of the year awards and in 2005 he was voted by fans as Charlton’s greatest ever defender. In May 2013, Rufus was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.

After being declared bankrupt in December 2013 after a £6 million failed investment, which cost his church £5m, he was branded a fraudster by a specialist civil court judge in November 2015 following an £8 million loss to investors.

Rufus operated a £16m Ponzi scheme involving over 100 investors including members of his family and congregation members of churches he had attended, to which he pocketed over £3 million to fund his lifestyle.

The Insolvency Service described the case as “one of the worst” ever with Rufus being given a 15-year bankruptcy restriction order.

At the end of November, he left his roles with Charlton Athletic in the club’s academy and the Community Trust following the fraud investigation.

In August 2019, Rufus was due to appear in court in respect of foreign currency exchange fraud of up to £9 million, between 2007 and 2012. The case was adjourned. After numerous delays the trial commenced in November 2022 and he now faces prison time.

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