A Jersey wealth adviser has appeared in court accused of losing vulnerable clients £2.7 million after ‘fraudulently’ persuading them to invest in a high risk fund.
Christopher Paul Byrne of St Helier, a founder and director of Island advisory business Lumiere Wealth, faces additional charges of failing to supply information to authorities when directed.
He has admitted providing false information to the Jersey Financial Service Commission and carrying on unauthorised financial services business, the Jersey Evening Post reported.
The charges date to the collapse of Providence Global in 2016, leading to the loss of client cash. Lumiere was majority owned by the group, and had acted as representative to Providence Investment Funds PCC, a vehicle claiming a 14% return via investment in Brazilian assets.
Earlier this year the former chief executive of the business Antonio Buzaneli pleaded guilty to committing fraud during a US court appearance.
Byrne is accused of fraudulently luring 12 investors into investing £2.7 million into the fund, with the prosecution claiming there was ‘very little chance any of them will see anything back’.
‘What he told his clients and what he failed to tell his clients is at the heart of most of the counts on the indictment,’ crown advocate Simon Thomas added, saying Bryne’s client base was not financially sophisticated and many of them were elderly and vulnerable.
The trial continues.