Two fraudulent accountants who duped high-net-worth individuals in a £60 million Ponzi scheme have had the amount of confiscation orders made against them reduced by almost £1 million on appeal.
Shinder Singh Gangar and Alan White deceived wealthy investors with the guarantee of high returns but instead used the proceeds of the fraud to maintain their own luxury lifestyles.
Moving money around the world in a "deliberately complex" web, the fact that their assets were frozen by a court order did not stop them defrauding Peter to pay Paul on a gigantic scale between October 2001 and their arrest a year later.
Gangar and White, who worked for accountancy firm, Dobb White & Co, with offices in Leicester and Nottingham, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud at Sheffield Crown Court in 2008 and each of them was sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
Lord Justice Hughes told the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) that the fraudulent transactions totalled more than £60 million. However, despite a detailed investigation, the authorities had managed to identify "remarkably few" assets available for seizure.
The judge added: "There were extensive records of transactions which suggested that the defendants either had, or had had, substantial assets, but no sign of where the money was now".
After their convictions, confiscation orders were made against the defendants, totalling £2,750,000 in the case of Gangar and £1.2m in the case of White. Gangar was ordered to serve an extra six years, and White an additional five years, in default of payment.
However Lord Justice Hughes, sitting at the Court of Appeal with Mr Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Nicol, reduced Gangar's confiscation order to £2,289,074 and White's to £686,996. White's default sentence was also reduced to three and a half years.
In a ruling which lays down guidelines on the way confiscation orders are calculated in criminal cases, Lord Justice Hughes said assets which were available to the defendants jointly had wrongly been "double counted".
Allowing the appeals, the judge said: "We conclude that the orders made against these defendants were wrong insofar as they were based upon treating the jointly held assets as 100% available to both of them.
"The appeals must be allowed to the limited extent of repairing the error."