Fraudster conned friends into investing more than £1 million

James Rintoul
James Rintoul

A man has today been sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment for fraudulently running a £10 million business in Wykeham.

James David Rintoul, 55, from Brough in Humberside, but previously from Wykeham, was arrested in September 2011 on suspicion of fraud after the oil trading business he was running collapsed.

Today at court, he pleaded to guilty to fraudulent trading and money laundering.

Rintoul operated an investment fund called Fuel Pulse Ltd from his then home address in Wykeham, attracting investors from friends and associates in the trading world.

The minimum stake was $100,000, the equivalent of around £66,000, and the funds would be used to buy and sell oil on the American oil markets.

Rintoul used a mathematical model to predict the trading on the oil markets based in the USA and the fund was successful for the first two months.

In October 2008 the fund started to lose money, but rather than inform the investors, Rintoul told them that fund was making incredible returns and this was evidenced in statements produced by Rintoul which bore no resemblance to the actual trading figures.

This attracted further investors and in total £1.3 million was invested by friends and associates of Rintoul.

The fund continued to lose money but Rintoul kept telling the investors that their money was safe and at one point he claimed the fund was working at £10.5 million. In August 2011 the fund had less than £2,600 left.

Rintoul approached two city investment bodies with the fictitious figures in order to raise capital up to £33 million to boost the fund but both attempts failed at the due diligence stage as Rintoul failed to show the actual trading losses and instead used the fabricated statements produced on his home computer.

Based on the false trading figures Rintoul produced through Fuel Pulse Ltd, he withdrew over £250,000 in management fees for his own personal gain. These fees bore no actual resemblance to the trading results and he would never have been entitled to these returns.

Rintoul was previously a very successful oil trader having worked for large multi-national companies in London. He used his reputation and his contacts to set up the fund.

Due to the fact that he used friends who trusted him and then fabricated returns showing massive profits, as well sending the investors expensive Christmas hampers, he managed to continue to attract investment.

Inspector Garry Ridler, who led the North Yorkshire Police investigation, said: “Rintoul played with the investors’ money for his own gratification and his trading was described as chaotic. At the time of the collapse of the fund, the Fuel Pulse statements were showing nearly $3 million in the account when in reality he had lost the lot.

“Rintoul used his friendship with the investors to fund his own lifestyle and conduct this Ponzi-style fraud. This breach of trust and damage to the investors’ reputation, along with the loss of personal money, was what made this such a cruel fraud.”