A prolific north-east fraudster has won his bid to have his prison sentence cut.
Alistair Greig, 67, was jailed for 14 years in April 2020 for conning at least 165 people out of a total of £13.2 million in what has been called Scotland’s biggest ever fraud case.
He will now serve 10 years after his counsel successfully argued similar conmen had received lighter sentences and that he was suffering from health problems.
Most of Greig’s victims were from the north-east and many were roped in after their loved ones recommended the scam, genuinely believing it was legitimate because of Greig’s advice.
Greig ran Midas Financial Solutions (Scotland) from an office on Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen, and spent many years selling legitimate financial products.
He then told clients he could get them high interest rates that never existed, as part of a sophisticated Ponzi scheme.
Holidays in Monaco
Instead Greig transferred £6m of their cash into his own bank accounts and spent in on holidays in Monaco, VIP boxes at top sporting events, and classic cars.
Many lost their private pensions and life savings, though most got at least £85,000 back from the UK Government-backed Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Greig, a former financial adviser, formerly of Cairnbulg, Aberdeenshire, had tried to have his conviction quashed but failed at the Appeals Court in Edinburgh last year.
However, he was given leave to appeal against the length of his sentence and a hearing took place at the same court this afternoon.
During the remote hearing, Greig’s counsel John Scott QC argued Greig’s 14-year sentence was “clearly excessive”.
In support of shortening the sentence, Mr Scott argued that Greig was suffering from “more than expected health problems for someone of his age” including physical and mental health problems.
Mr Scott also argued that other fraudsters had received lighter sentences and that there had been an undue delay between Greig being charged in 2015 and his trial in 2020.
Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC, the Principal Crown Counsel said the delay was reasonable because “the sheer scale of this case was enormous” and the judges in the case, Lord Turnbull and Lord Matthews, agreed after retiring for 12 minutes to consider their verdict.
However, Lord Turnbull agreed with Mr Scott’s points relating to health and other, similar cases.
Addressing the court, Lord Turnbull said: “Nevertheless, when the appellant’s whole circumstances are taken account of, including his age and his medical and physical health, and when a broad account is taken of sentences imposed of broadly similar cases, the court finds it is difficult to resist the conclusion that sentence imposed in the appellant’s case was excessive.
“Accordingly we shall give effective submissions presented on the appellant’s behalf, by quashing the sentence imposed on the charge by which the appellant was convicted and, in its place, we shall impose a sentence of 10 years, to date from March 12, 2020.”
The judges are to publish their written decision in the coming weeks.
In separate proceedings, prosecutors are trying to recover £829,736.87 of Greig’s assets.
A procedural hearing in relation to that is to take place on June 14.