Victims of Scotland’s most prolific fraudster have reacted with shock after his jail sentence was slashed.
We reported earlier how north-east man Alistair Greig, 67, was today successful in an appeal against his jail term.
His prison sentence has been cut from 14 years to 10 years for a massive fraud conducted from an office on Little Belmont Street in Aberdeen.
The two judges sitting at Edinburgh Appeals Court set the sentence start date at March 2020, meaning Greig means he could be out of custody on probation in 2025 on good behaviour.
The judges accepted the argument that Greig, of Cairnbulg, is suffering from physical and mental health problems, suggesting that his quality of life was likely to deteriorate if he stays in custody for the original 14-year term.
They also accepted other fraudsters have been jailed for less time.
However, the judges’ ruling has been given a furious reception by those at the sharp end.
One north-east man, who lost more than £110,000 of his life savings in Greig’s scam and who now must get by on just his state pension as a result, said: “It’s a strange decision. All of the victims will be furious I imagine.”
The pensioner, who asked not to be named, added: “For me, it doesn’t matter. Whether he stays in prison for 250 years of 10 years, it won’t matter much to my bank account.
“The shorter the sentence, the less of a deterrent it is. There will be lots of scammers like Greig about and this will just encourage them.
“I’ve spoken to 70 other victims in this case. Some of them have suffered cancer, strokes or have passed away. It ruined lives and shattered families.”
Colin Stewart, whose parents lost more than £360,000 in Greig’s fraud, was instrumental in bringing many of the 160-plus victims together to fight the case.
He said: “I’m angry that he has managed to get his sentenced reduced. I didn’t think this would happen.
“People will be annoyed with this. He hasn’t admitted any guilt and even tried to get his conviction quashed before trying to get his sentence lowered.”
He added: “At the end of the trial, the judge (Lord Tyre) gave a really strong speech about the impact of the case and this decision sort of ruins that.”
Allan Milne, who was a director at Midas Financial Services – the firm where the Ponzi scheme scam took place.
He was one of several Midas staff members who unknowingly convinced clients to invest in the fraud on Greig’s command.
Police, prosecutors and the court accepted Mr Milne and his colleagues played no role in the crime and that Greig was the only person involved.
‘I lost my career’
Mr Milne said: “I and other people who have been hugely affected both emotionally and financially by Alistair Greig will be exceptionally disappointed that he has evaded almost a third of his sentence.
“This man led a luxury lifestyle and lied to everyone around him to maintain that lifestyle and has still not admitted his guilt.
“For his sentence to be cut when he is still not admitting guilt does not seem to be to be fair.
“I was a financial adviser and lost my career, which had huge financial consequences to me, as well people who have had money taken from their life savings by Alistair Greig.”
‘Decision was very fair’
Graham Hudson was a member of a networking group where Midas staff attended to give speeches, some of which promoted Greig’s scam.
He himself invested what he describes as “a large amount” into the scheme and lost out.
However, Mr Hudson, who listened into today’s court hearing, which was being held remotely, said he accepted the judges’ decision.
He added: “I listened to the arguments and the decision was very fair.
“I do feel the judges looked at both sides of the argument. Fourteen years was a long time and 10 isn’t that much shorter.”
We have compiled a six-part series investigating the detail of Greig’s offences.
King of the Swindlers reveals the inside story of Greig’s offending, his lavish lifestyle, his victims, how police and prosecutors took him down and how a regulator missed two chances to stop him before the worst of his offences took place.
Read it by clicking the link below.