Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter based in Christchurch.

Kiwi accountant jailed for $2.2m con

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

A New Zealand accountant who conned his wealthy London neighbours out of $2.2 million has been jailed for eight years.

Brian Copsey, 60, "charmed" fellow residents of an exclusive mansion block into letting him handle a refurbishments fund, the Daily Mail reported.

But instead of using the money to upgrade luxurious Bryanston Court, where Wallis Simpson, the wife of Edward VIII once lived, he spent the money on himself.

The newspaper reports that father-of-three Copsey spent residents' savings on luxury holidays, boarding school fees for one of his sons, as well as shopping sprees at upmarket stores Harrods, Tiffany and Selfridges.

His scam was uncovered when other members of the flats' management board tried to start the refurbishments and found NZ$2.2m missing from the account.

None of the residents in the 56 flats - worth up to NZ$7.5m each - has been repaid, the Mail says.

Last week at Southwark Crown Court, Copsey was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of fraud by abuse of his position.

Judge John Price blasted him for what amounted to a "gross breach of trust".

"The victims are ordinary people who lost about 30,000 pounds (NZ$58,000) each," he said.

"Neighbour has turned against neighbour. You have done all of that - you destroyed the feeling of good neighbourliness that was in the flats."

The court heard that one victim was 97 years old while another has suffered stress-related Bell's Palsy as a result of the fraud.

The Mail says that New Zealand-born Copsey "lost his own fortune in poor business dealings" before he started the scam, which ran between March 2010 and September 2012.

- APNZ

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