A horseracing conman, that use false identities to cheat punters out of more than £200,000, has been jailed for more five years after his court hearing.
Christopher Beek, 36, decieved his followers using gambling syndicates and shares in racehorses, and not only made small payments to keep his victims hooked, but worked as a private detective to help them get their money back for a fee.
During his trial, he claimed to raise the money to repay the losers, but was later guilty of lying in the court of law, when Warwick Crown Court heard he had empty pockets.
The disgraced man of Lancashire - who had winners as a racehorse owner in the silks of Kachina Racing, eventually pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding four people over a three-year period.
Judge Andrew Lockhart observed he had conned his victims out of around £204,000 – and, after they had received some returns to keep them hooked, there was £164,000 up in the air.
(Credit: Racing Post) Jailing Beek, Judge Lockhart said : "You find yourself here in respect of serious criminality. The schemes were broadly fictitious.
"You lost money, and you simply asked for more. It was a three-year sophisticated fraud. The web of lies has been hard to unravel.
"There was a bewildering cast of fictitious persons, betting systems, internet accounts, and then, using your own name and six other names, you wove a web of deception."
Prosecutor Graham Russell said Beek's first victim was an oil rig worker offshore, who was offered a membership to his gambling system in December 2011, with a 'guaranteed return'.
What should have proved deranged and rather 'goofy', the worker invested £3,400, followed by another £1,500, before a further £800.
He received a return of £1,200 at the end of the first six months, but was given the cold shoulder along with various excuses, when he began chasing the rest of his money.
Beek tricked him by profiling an imaginary character known as Charles Symonds - who was personified as a sports betting expert – resulting in the oil rig worker paying out another £2,000 to get his money back.
The victim eventually began to suspect that Symonds was in fact Beek who continued to make excuses for the lack of payments.
The biggest loser in the hoodwink was an unnamed farmer, who ended up losing a mouthwatering £130,000.
Having been drawn in through a Kachina Racing flyer, the farmer was persuaded to hand over an initial £15,000 for a betting investment club with again, supposedly guaranteed profits.
Beek, using other made-up identities, duped the farmer into investing large sums of money in systems using automated betting programs, which sent out regular fake performance emails, illustrating made-up income numbers.
He then killed off the person behind that scheme, and instead created a man called Michael Taylor, who offered to help the farmer recover his money – for yet another fee.
Simon Worlock, defending Beek said: "He has written a letter in the fond hope that Your Honour may say a suspended sentence might be merited, although I have a feeling Your Honour will say it's not merited.
"This happened over three years ago, and it was all over by 2015. He had not come to terms with this until relatively recently. Part of his prevarication is his inability to come to terms with the seriousness of what he's done."
Worlock said that after leaving school Beek had worked as a groom for high-profile trainer Mick Channon, but set up his own yard after injuries prevented his ambitions of becoming a jockey.
He said: "He lost the yard in 2013 when he had 20 horses, and he sold them for a pittance and tried to live on his wits providing racing tips, but he got completely overwhelmed with what he was doing and then he starts to lie.
"It's telling lie upon lie to cover up lie upon lie. He's not a man who set out from the start to commit fraud, but someone who drifted into it and then could not find a way out."