Conman told to pay £300k to victims of his bogus investment scheme or face another two and a half years in jail
Confiscation order: Mark Starling (pictured with daughter Rosie) was jailed for five years last November
A conman who persuaded friends and family to plough £3million into a bogus investment scheme has been ordered to pay back almost £300,000 to his victims – or face another two and a half years in jail.
A confiscation order of £291,070.36 has been made against Mark Starling in Southwark Crown Court, in the latest twist in a long and colourful saga.
Starling, 58, was jailed for five years last November after spending almost a decade convincing investors, including his daughter Rosalie and nephew, to let him manage their savings. Between 2008 and 2017 he collected £3million from investors, including millionaire members of his rowing club near his home in Farnham, Surrey.
He claimed the money was being put into three funds – the Pilot Dax Fund, the Shadow Dax Fund and the Pilot Eurostoxx Fund. Investors were told to expect returns of up to 18 per cent a year.
In fact he traded just £8,000 of the £3million – on which he made a loss of £2,450 – and spent more than £1million maintaining his own luxury lifestyle.
This included £222,000 on property, £165,000 on school fees, £46,000 on shopping and £30,000 on cars.
He also spent £42,000 on family holidays, including ski trips and summer breaks in a southern European villa.
He even took investors to the Le Mans racing circuit in France, without letting them know they were funding it.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: ‘We will continue to take steps to ensure proceeds of criminal activity are confiscated so victims can be compensated as far as possible.’
The court found that Starling, who is in Wandsworth Prison in London, derived a benefit of £3,010,982.18 from his conduct, but it was possible to claw back only £291,070.36 from his bank accounts and the sale of a car and jewellery.
He has until February 25 to repay the money, or spend another two and a half years in prison.
If he pays up, it will be used to compensate 14 victims who lost £1.8million.
Starling’s daughter Rosalie, 28, and nephew Christopher Bullett, 30, who both put in at least £8,500, were removed from an original list of 17 victims owed compensation.