Universal Wealth Owner Jailed For Contempt Of Court
In October 2018, the doors suspiciously slammed shut on the many workers of inheritance planning firm, Universal Wealth Management.
The Ipswich offices lay abandoned whilst the anxious clients, who had invested in the many Trusts to help with their retirement and inheritance, paced nervously, looking for the remnants of their valuable investments.
According to recent court proceedings, Steve Long, owner of Universal Wealth, had frittered away client money to save his dwindling business and transferring away money abroad.
It has been alleged that over £25 million worth of pensioner investments have been lost in total.
Although he has not been officially charged with any fraudulent activity, 27 victims, including direct investors and family members affected, have filed damages claims in the hope of recovering some of their losses.
Following the closure in October, Mrs Justice Rose had ordered Steve Long to account for the missing money wherever he was able to.
This order had seemingly been ignored, and in December, just days before Christmas, Steve Long was jailed for eight months for contempt of court.
As the business was crumbling around him, Steve Long claimed that he was now living a destitute existence with only the clothes on his back and a push bike to his name. A clear insinuation that he was in no position to repay any of the lost investments that were entrusted to his company.
The authorities are now investigating claims that Long owns a number of properties in Mexico. If this is the case, then a portion of the proceeds could be used to repay the victims of the alleged fraud.
Long also claimed that the ordeal has affected his mental health. In a bid to shut out the incident, he had failed to open his mail which is why he was unaware of the order from Mrs Justice Rose.
Oliver Hyam, Barrister for the 27 claimants, said: “There is cogent evidence that Long has perpetrated a massive fraud against hundreds of victims. Overall, around £25m is thought to be missing.”
Are you aware of similar tragic issues concerning lost Trusts?