A MAN from Burley-in-Wharfedale, who defrauded his victims out of more than £700,000 has been sentenced to over ten years in prison.

Peter Adrian Dilenardo, 50, of Ron Lawton Crescent, Burley-in-Wharfedale, was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court of eight offences including fraud by abuse of position of trust and fraud by false representation following a nine week trial. He was sentenced on Tuesday, June 4.

The court heard how Dilenardo had previously been an Independent Financial Advisor authorised to give investment advice to clients relating to products regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. That authorisation ended, however, on 13 February 2014.

Following this suspension he continued to give regulated advice to his clients, advising them to remove funds from regulated products and invest them into a company owned by him. He was the sole signatory on the company bank account and in total his clients paid £426,000 into the company.

On January 16, 2019 he was arrested – for fraud by false representation and perverting the course of justice – after he sold his client portfolio whilst subject to a restraint order. The proceeds of this were over £100,000 and this was paid into UK and USA accounts – accounts which had not been disclosed to the court.

Dilenardo was told by His Honour Judge Neil Clark that he had been sentenced to 10 years and three months.

The total amount of money he conned out of his victims was revealed in court to be £747,000.

Ramona Senior, Head West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “Dilenardo has been sentenced to a total of 10 years 3 months after a long trial and challenging investigation made more difficult at every turn by the defendant.

“He showed a complete disregard for his victims and the financial hardship and stress caused in defrauding them of over £747k. If you’re considering any type of investment, always remember: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Check the credentials of the company or individual you are dealing with and don’t agree to deals straight away. Take time to consider an offer and seek independent advice. Be particularly cautious when investing your money in land, carbon credits, wine or precious jewels/metals. Make sure any sites you invest through are genuine. Visit the Financial Conduct Authority’s ScamSmart site for advice on making safe investments.”