Fraudster who partied with Rihanna jailed for fleecing loved ones out of £250k

A fraudster who partied with Rihanna has been jailed after orchestrating a "cacophony of lies" to con victims out of more than £250,000, WalesOnline reports.

James Bufton attracted victims with promises of large returns on financial investments with little risk to their capital after presenting to them the image of a wealthy financial expert.

The 26-year-old was jailed for six years at Newport Crown Court after scamming a number of people out of a total of £253,000 with victims including his aunt and uncle, the father of a former girlfriend and a close family friend.

After the death of his uncle, the court heard he even adopted his relative's identity on the telephone while attempting to obtain money from a pension fund.

Bufton developed a technique dubbed 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' which would see him attract new victims in order to pay back previous victims.

He also tried to claim £1.3m from HMRC in the form of a fraudulent tax rebate.

Detective Constable Josie Conway, of Gwent Police, said although Bufton painted the image of being a successful stockbroker, he never qualified and receiving limited training.

She said: "That's part of the fabrication that he has managed to build up over the years.

"So he has had some training which gives him the knowledge that a lot of his victims don't have in the financial sector. He was able to use terminology that is perhaps a bit outside of their areas of expertise."

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The prosecution said Bufton would spend large sums of money on stays at the Celtic Manor hotel, in Newport, South Wales, and on one occasion, a helicopter to Cheltenham Festival.

Prosecutor Tim Evans said Bufton also "spent a lot of time and an awful lot of money" in the Fantasy Lounge strip club in Cardiff.

In 2011, Bufton hit the headlines when he claimed to have charmed international superstar Rihanna, 32, at an event in London.

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He even put out a press release saying he had singer's phone number.

DC Conway said Gwent Police did not uncover any legitimate investments made by Bufton in the course of their investigation.

She said: "The amount of money that has moved through accounts, the amount of bank accounts that have been used, and the businesses that have been set up, it's certainly been the most complex and biggest fraud case that I have ever investigated.

"We have had financial investigators who have been involved who will say the same. In their careers, this is one of the most complex and brazened frauds they have ever investigated."

DC Conway also urged any other potential victims to come forward.

She added: "It sounds corny to say so, but if an opportunity arises that seems like it might be too good to be true, that is often the case.

"It's important that people do seek advice and try to take steps to verify options that are on the table for them."

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