A HOTELIER who lost his entire life savings of more than £100,000 following a callous insurance scam has said his life has been shattered.
The two masterminds of the £1 million fraud that destroyed the hopes and dreams of Roger Price, 64, who runs the Elms Hotel and Restaurant, on Sealand Road, Sealand, have now been jailed for more than 10 years between them.
Neil McKay, 44, and Faron Wilson, 40, posed as respectable insurance brokers and tricked more than 100 victims into using their services.
Instead of providing them with the promised policies, they simply pocketed the premiums for themselves.
Mr Price, of the Lache, Chester, ended up losing £100,000 following lengthy legal proceedings when he thought he had been insured.
The losses were incurred after a customer was knocked to the floor by his playful puppy following a night out at the venue.
McKay was jailed for four years and four months, while Wilson received a six year prison sentence at Southwark Crown Court.
Judge Deborah Taylor told them: “Customers were left with the risk of very real losses to themselves or their businesses.
“This was a high-value, planned, substantial confidence fraud involving multiple victims over a five year period and committed out of greed.”
The judge added that when the matter comes before the court again for an application to seize the defendants' assets, compensation for the victims including Mr Price would take precedence.
McKay and Wilson ran the fraud through their Chorley-based firm Ideal Insurance over a five-year period from 2003 to 2008.
Victims were shown “wholly bogus” policy documents to convince them that they had taken out genuine insurance.
Mr Price was left without insurance and ended up having to pay a total of £107,000 including legal costs following a county court judgement.
McKay, who the court heard played the greater role in the fraud of the two defendants, personally took £698,000 out of the business, while Wilson took £314,000.
A further £200,000 was withdrawn in cash and is still unaccounted for.
McKay, of Ormskirk, Lancs, admitted conspiracy to defraud between May 20, 1997 and October 1, 2007, while Wilson, of Bury, denied the same charge.