A former financial adviser has appeared in court accused of conning customers from across the Hope Valley out of over £200,000.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Tuesday, January 5, how Martin Rigney, 66, allegedly committed eight counts of fraud and 11 counts of forgery between 2003 and 2012.
Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “At the time of these incidents Rigney was an independent financial adviser and director of Topps Rogers Financial Management.
“There are a number of complainants who were customers of Rigney’s company and the allegation is that he transferred various monies without their authorisation.
“Authorisations were allegedly forged and that is accounted for by charges of making a false instrument or forgery.
“These alleged offences came to light when the son of an elderly couple made a complaint that his parents signatures had been forged and the victims were vulnerable and Rigney was acting in a position of trust.”
Mrs Allsop added that the alleged value of losses - with Rigney allegedly obtaining commission with transfers from one fund to another - is over £200,000 to the detriment of the customers.
Rigney, formerly of Great Hucklow, near Buxton, gave no indication of plea at this stage of the proceedings to the eight charges of fraud and eleven charges of forgery - or making a false instrument.
The fraud charges allegedly involved Rigney making fund switches into units of the Curzon Capital investment Poland Geared Growth Fund for himself.
Mrs Allsop argued the serious nature of the charges involving an alleged abuse of trust involving 15 victims meant the accused could face five years in prison and therefore the case could only be dealt with at crown court.
Magistrates committed the case to Derby Crown Court for a further hearing on February 2.
Rigney, of King Edwards. Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, was released on unconditional bail.