A FRAUDSTER who conned his victims in to paying him over half a million pounds has been described by a judge as the most “fundamentally dishonest” man he’s dealt with during his more than 40-year career in the courtroom.

Darryl Evans was jailed for a total of eight years after last month being convicted of 26 charges of fraud and one charge of theft.

Following an almost three-week trial, the jury deliberated for around two hours and 45 minutes before returning guilty verdicts on each of the 27 charges.

It was alleged that Evans conned his victims in to handing him more than half a million pounds between 2013 and 2020.

In what was since described by one of the victims as a “Ponzi scheme”, he convinced friends and acquaintances to make high value payments which he said he would put into investment schemes on their behalf.

In reality, he was out of work and funding his own lifestyle.

Evans criminal behaviour came to light in 2018, when his victims failed to receive any money from the ‘investments’ and their suspicions were raised.

As police enquiries developed, it was established that a number of people had been affected by his dishonest scheme, and Evans was arrested on suspicion of fraud.

The court heard that Evans had repaid some of the money to maintain his deceit that he had invested the money, but the actual losses still totalled more than £377,000.

The theft charge related to Evans making himself the executor of a will and paying money directly in to his own bank account.

Prosecutor Robin Rouch told the court that this and one of the fraud charges took place after Evans had already been arrested and interviewed by police.

Summarising the victim impact statements, Mr Rouch said: “The money represented their savings, pensions.

“People had cashed out money from investments.

“The majority knew him, believed him to be a friend. Certainly trusted him.”  

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Judge Paul Thomas KC said: “It’s had a devastating effect on a number of people’s lives.

“It’s not just the financial impact. It’s the feeling of betrayal.”

Mr Rouch said that one of the victims had been suffering from anxiety and had been admitted to hospital on more than one occasion, with Evans’ scam not only affecting him but also friends who had become involved after he introduced them to the defendant.

Jim Davis, in mitigation, said: “The defendant has denied his guilty all the way through proceedings.”

Mr Davis said that Evans was of previous clean character, and had not previously offended until his late 50s when theses offences were committed.

“The question of where the money went, Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings will be looking in to that,” Mr Davis said.

Addressing Evans, Judge Thomas said: “Over a period of several years, you cynically and ruthlessly and dishonestly took in excess of half a million pounds.

“Many of these people who fell victim to your dishonesty considered you to be their friend. You knew many of them could not afford to lose the money you were taking from them.

“To fund something, it was never quite established what, you systematically conned people in to giving you large amounts of money.”

Two victims – both men in their 70s – believed Evans was investing their money in “algorithms”. The court heard that the men tracked where they thought their money had been invested, and “thought they had become millionaires”.

“They were not – you had taken their money from them,” Judge Thomas said.

The judge said the theft charge “could be described as the most brazen and despicable of these offences”.

“You made yourself the executor of a will and wickedly put the money in to your own bank account,” he said.

“It disappeared within days.”

Western Telegraph: Fraudster Darryl Evans was jailed for eight years at Swansea Crown Court.Fraudster Darryl Evans was jailed for eight years at Swansea Crown Court. (Image: Dyfed-Powys Police)

Sentencing Evans, Judge Thomas said: “In over 40 years in these criminal courts, I do not remember ever dealing with someone as fundamentally dishonest as you.

“You lied during the trial with a fluency which was almost breath-taking.

“The heart of your defence was your suggestion you were constructing a fictitious caravan park and people were investing in it.

“You outrageously claimed you owned the caravan site, which you did not.”

The court heard that Evans had also tried to “blacken the names” of some of his victims, and claimed that the police had destroyed or concealed papers.

“Throughout the trial you displayed not one iota of remorse or even sympathy for your victims,” Judge Thomas said.

“You continued to defraud people even after you were arrested and interviewed.”

Evans, 62, of Green Court Crescent in Tenby, was jailed for seven years, running concurrently, for the first 25 counts of fraud, with a further year for the remaining fraud charge and the theft.

Judge Thomas also commended the investigation work in the case – in particular officer in case Dawn Jones.

Dyfed-Powys Police’s Economic Crime Team manager Paul Callard said: “What Evans did was a gross breach of his friends’ trust. He lied about his profession to gain their respect and confidence, before taking their money on the agreement it would be invested for their benefit.

“While they thought they would profit from this investment, Evans was keeping the money for himself – although despite a number of financial investigations there is no evidence to show what he was spending it on.

“This was a complex investigation, exacerbated by difficulties in working with a number of complainants, and delays posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, our team was committed to getting justice for those involved, and this is an excellent outcome to end the investigation.

“I’d like to echo the judge’s commendation of Dawn’s work – her effort at every stage was exceptional, and has ensured the whole extent of Evans’ actions was brought to light.”