Retiree ‘broke down’ after losing £80,000 to fraudsters while dad was dying

A retired financial advisor handed over £80,000 to scammers, who convinced him he was investing in cryptocurrency.

Simon Hoadley, 66, invested in cryptocurrency during the COVID-19 pandemic and began to see an immediate return on his money.

Encouraged by the results he was seeing, the retiree began to put more money into the fund, opening new bank accounts and taking out loans to do so.

Mr Hoadley, who lives in Holywell near Eastbourne, East Sussex, wanted to make his money go further as his wife was living in a care home and his father was dying of cancer.

The retired financial advisor invested the cash with a company claiming to be investment specialists, but the fraudsters cut contact with him when he asked about his money.

READ MORE: Pensioner left homeless after handing over £633,000 life savings online

When his main contact became unreachable and his returns began to plummet, he became suspicious and realised it was all a scam.

Mr Hoadley said: “It was horrendous. My dad was dying of cancer and I was living alone because my wife is in a care facility three hours away.”

He had already invested in stocks and shares ISAs and decided to research cryptocurrency investments in 2020.

Unfortunately, Mr Hoadley thought he was investing with a legitimate investment firm, who he spoke to via telephone on a weekly basis.

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He said: “They shared good advice, they were very personable and professional.”

Initially he invested just £250, and immediately saw his funds grow. He was then advised to make further payments.

But he grew suspicious when Mr Hoadley’s main contact started to be hard to contact and his money began to decrease, he claimed.

Mr Hoadley said: “I spoke to a friend who also works in finance. He said I’d been scammed and it wasn’t my fault.

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“I went to my local bank and they told me I needed to tell my family because the police would now be involved. I just broke down in front of them.

“The crooks were even taking £5,000 out of my account while I was there.”

The pensioner turned to fraud specialists CEL Solicitors for help, who contacted the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) on his behalf. They said they have managed to recover more than £75,000.

Mr Hoadley said: “I’ve got four grown-up children who were devastated when they found out.

“They had always looked up to me but over a year I just completely changed. It was really tough for them to see.

“When you get scammed you feel angry, a victim, like you’ve let your family down. You’re just in a really bad place.

“With the money I got back I’ve bought a mobile home 20 minutes away from my wife which has made a huge difference to my marriage and my family.”

Paul Hampson, CEO of CEL Solicitors, said: “To build a relationship and trust with their victims makes the con all the more distressing when the target uncovers the truth.

“It’s a difficult lesson to learn, especially when the reaction from banks and other authorities can be slow. When you have fallen victim to a scam, legal support is often advised.”

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