A former Premier League footballer who was found guilty of causing a London church and others to lose at total of £15m has been sentenced to seven and half years in prison.
Last month, ex-Charlton Athletic star Richard Rufus was found guilty of fraud, money laundering and carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation at Southwark Crown Court.
The court heard that the 47-year-old claimed to be a successful foreign exchange trader to convince his friends, family and church to invest.
A judge heard that Rufus told Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), where he was a trustee, that he would guarantee a £5m investment, promising the church returns of up to 72 per cent a year. However, KICC only got back £1,436,720 of its investment.
Rufus was forced to retire in 2004 after a knee injury, but is reported to have kept up an extravagant lifestyle.
The court heard that family and friends said they gave him money after promises of huge returns, but a judge said he abused their “goodwill”, ploughing their money into a pyramid scheme.
Rufus, from Crystal Palace, south-east London, denied claiming the investment was low risk or that he used any of the money given to fund his lifestyle.