Advance fee fraudster jailed for seven years

According to the London Evening Standard, the millionaire "socialite" conned high-profile clients out of their savings, using a bogus finance company and a fake name.

He used a company called Gresham that claimed to offer loans to small businesses which couldn’t get a loan via banks.

Davenport, with co-conspirators Peter Riley and Borge Andersen, pledged billions but once their victims had paid advance fees and deposits no loan was given.

Davenport was sentenced to seven years and eight months by Southwark crown court yesterday after conviction for conspiracy to defraud between 2007 and 2009.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Testar said: "This was a professional, sophisticated fraud which had a grave impact on its victims, decent, honest people."

Prosecutor Simon Mayo, QC, told the court: "Davenport was Gresham's ringmaster and guiding light. He avoided wherever possible dirtying his hands through direct engagement with victims, and even resorted to using a false name, James Stewart, to keep his real name secret."

Davenport claims to have made his first million in his twenties and boasted of owning a Ferrari 360 Spider, an Aston Martin Virage Volante, a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Lamborghini.

He mixed in the same circles as celebrities including Hugh Grant, Jude Law, Sarah Ferguson, Steve Coogan, Simon Cowell, Vivienne Westwood and Mick Jagger.

The Serious Fraud Office produced 11 test cases of people offered billions in loans by Gresham but these were "just a fraction" of the victims.

Peter Riley was also jailed for seven years and eight months after being found guilty of the same charge while Borge Anderson was also convicted of the conspiracy.

Three further defendants, David Horsfall, David McHugh and Richard Kirkup have also pleaded guilty to their part in the fraud. All four will be sentenced later.