John and Linda Hirst

John and Linda Hirst

British scammers
Country: Great Britain

  1. British Fraudsters
  2. A Life of Deception
  3. Extravagant Spending
  4. The Scheme

British Fraudsters

For almost 10 years, John and Linda Hurst constructed their own version of the legendary Ponzi scheme from the British expatriates they encountered in Spain. At first glance, the Hursts appeared to be a respectable and deserving couple - respectable elderly individuals who had worked hard in life and were now enjoying the fruits of their labor. It seemed they had amassed quite a fortune - living in a villa in Majorca, driving expensive cars, and spending weekends abroad in five-star hotels. Their wedding in Las Vegas, followed by a reception for several hundred people, cost John and Linda 200,000 pounds sterling. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, it became evident that they had not acquired their wealth through legitimate means.

John and Linda Hirst

A Life of Deception

Over the course of almost 10 years, the Hursts built their own version of the legendary Ponzi scheme by targeting former British expatriates in Spain. However, this time justice prevailed, and the couple was forced to leave their luxurious villa for much smaller accommodations with prison sustenance and barred windows. 61-year-old John Hurst, who had already been convicted of a major fraud scheme amounting to 500,000 pounds sterling, is now facing a significant prison sentence, despite confessing to his involvement in fraud and money laundering. Linda Hurst, 62, has also had run-ins with law enforcement, with two charges of money laundering and one charge of evading responsibility through deception.

Extravagant Spending

As the investigation unfolded, even more interesting details came to light. The fraudulent couple spent money with utmost skill and vigor. They spent around 270,000 pounds on renovating their Spanish villa, approximately 160,000 pounds on their subsequent vacation, and another 75,000 pounds on a series of cruises. Rounding out the list was a 25,000-pound check spent on jewelry. It is worth noting that the fraudsters did not only spend money on themselves - one of their purchases was a house for John's former wife (with whom he apparently had no relationship). However, all of these expenses paled in comparison to what the Hursts organized in Las Vegas. Julie Bussell, a specialist in organizing wedding events, met John and Linda in 2006 when they commissioned her to plan "the most expensive party in history." Julie performed her task excellently, with the Vegas ceremony costing the fraudsters 90,000 pounds and the subsequent reception in Majorca adding another 100,000 pounds to the bill. Golf fields, lavish barbecues, tickets for all family members, and a honeymoon in the Seychelles - the Hursts spared no expense.

The Scheme

The judges spent a considerable amount of time trying to understand how the Hursts accumulated all this money. The financial pyramid, disguised as an investment fund promising exceptionally high returns, was organized by the Hursts in 2001. Between 2001 and 2009, they obtained approximately 10 million pounds. Just under half of this money was returned to investors as interest payments, while the rest ended up in John's personal offshore account. The first suspicions among investors arose in 2009 when interest payments began to be delayed on a global scale. Soon after, the pyramid scheme attracted the attention of a government agency specializing in large-scale fraud. The final verdict for the couple will be issued on August 31st. Their personal accountant, 70-year-old Richard Pollett, also found himself in the defendant's seat alongside Linda and John.