Christopher Paul Byrne is accused of inducing ‘ordinary’ and ‘vulnerable’ Islanders who had trusted him with their finances for years into investing into the high-risk Providence fund.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Crown Advocate Simon Thomas said that between them the 12 clients had lost a total of £2,730,000 and added that there was ‘very little chance any of them will see anything back’.
Mr Byrne, who ran the financial advisory company Lumiere Wealth, denies 21 counts of fraudulent inducement to invest money and failing to provide the Jersey Financial Services Commission with information following the issuing of a forthwith notice.
The 50-year-old admitted providing false information to the JFSC and carrying on unauthorised financial services business.
On Monday, the first day of the trial, which is expected to last six weeks and is being heard before Jurats, the court was told that one of Mr Byrne’s alleged victims was 79, was partially sighted and required a magnifying glass to be able to read.
Advocate Thomas added that Mr Byrne’s clients were not sophisticated investors and said the defendant failed to tell them that the parent company of the fund was a major shareholder in Lumiere Wealth.
‘What he told his clients and what he failed to tell his clients is at the heart of most of the counts on the indictment,’ Advocate Thomas said.