Victoria Beckham’s ex-brother-in-law has been jailed for 30-months for his role in a near-£1 million fraud.
Darren Flood was a director in a firm that used the famous family’s name to con vulnerable victims into handing over their savings.
The company cold-called unsuspecting members of the public, mainly the elderly, and persuaded them to invest thousands of pounds in materials known as rare earth elements, falsely promising big returns.
The 40-year-old, who was previously married to the former Spice Girls star’s sister Louise Adams and is the father of her eight-year-old daughter, was handed a 30-month jail sentence at Kingston Crown Court on Friday.
The Beckham name was mentioned to some potential investors to give the scheme an air of legitimacy, although Flood’s barrister argued he had not personally sought to capitalise on the family link.
Deputy circuit judge Michael Carroll, addressing Flood and five others who were sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Friday, said the investment scheme he was involved in was “fraudulent from the outset”.
He told the group: “This must have been known to you once you became intimately involved in the running of the company or played a part in it.”
Flood, of Ware Road in Hertford, owned almost a quarter of The Commodities Link (TCL), but quit after nine months with the company.
Wearing a dark suit with a blue shirt and tie, he gave no visible reaction as he was sentenced alongside the others for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
Victims of the scam, known as a “boiler room” fraud, included a widower, a retired policeman and a multiple sclerosis sufferer who complained that a telephone sales agent became abusive when he refused to pay more money.
Some of them, including a widow in her 80s, were even taken out to lunch in fancy London restaurants as the scammers tried to give the impression the business was legitimate and successful.
The investors were persuaded to put their money in a market that effectively did not exist for members of the public, and lied to about the value of the materials they were investing in.
The elements, rare earth metals and oxides which are used in products such as mobile phones and computers, were practically worthless in the small quantities they were being offered in, but were sold to TCL investors for up to 200 times more than the original purchase price.