A FRAUDSTER who used his criminal activities to support an extravagant lifestyle in Spain has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
John Disley, 46, and his three accomplices were convicted of conspiring to defraud the Royal Bank of Scotland out of more than £675,000, as well as £214,000 from a financial services company, between May and December 2010.
Preston Crown Court heard that the group bought companies in trouble and used them to withdraw large sums of cash from RBS before the cheques bounced.
The former nightclub bouncer from Hertfordshire earned the nickname of ‘King of Marbella’ from expats in Spain who noted his champagne lifestyle, when in reality the fraudster was bankrupt.
His lavish lifestyle included renting a £2 million Spanish villa with an indoor swimming pool, games room, cinema and tennis court.
He even splashed out £30,000 on a palm tree for the home and boasted about socialising with Eastenders stars Dean Gaffney and Barbara Windsor.
When arrested Disley, of Old House Lane, Kings Langley, was certain the scam would not be traced back to him and told detectives he was “more worried about it snowing”.
Sentencing him, Judge Heather Lloyd said: “Your arrogance was apparent when arrested.
“You did not think for one moment that the prosecution would succeed.
“You gave other people scripts to follow but the evidence against you was overwhelming and the jury saw right through you.”
She added that Disley’s tactics were to hide behind others and keep a distance from the sham businesses, but she was satisfied he could be ‘intimidating when crossed’.
Jonathan Stowell, 41, of Bradshawgate, Bolton, and Stuart Hegarty, 44, of Helston Drive, Nottingham, were convicted of the same charge following the seven-week trial.
Hegarty received a 12 month sentence, while Stowell was jailed for 15 months.
Disley’s personal assistant and ‘right-hand woman’, Victoria Quinn, 40, from Accrington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud last October and will spend two years in prison.
In addition, Disley has been disqualified from being a company director for eight years.
Following sentencing, Detective Constable Keith Allen said: “Disley believed he was above the law.
“He portrayed himself as a legitimate multi-millionaire businessman when in fact he was a bankrupt who made his living by asset-stripping companies which were in financial difficulty.
“It’s not right that criminals like Disley should live beyond their means, essentially at the cost of law-abiding members of the community.”