A man who played a key role in a £4 million investment scam to fund his own “lavish and extravagant lifestyle” has been jailed for seven years and two months.

Jonathan Allard, from Wandsworth, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud at Southwark Crown Court and was jailed on Monday, May 22.

More than 40 victims were scammed after they were offered attractive financial investment returns between 2013 and 2017.

The 39-year-old benefited financially from the fraud and lived an extravagant lifestyle, calling himself ‘Lord’ Allard.

He was living in a rented house in Knightsbridge, paying £6,500 rent per month and spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on cars and watches.

The scam was a sophisticated and convincing investment fraud that took advantage of vulnerable victims on a large scale.

Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime’s Economic Crime Team began investigating the scam in 2016.

In November of the same year, Allard was arrested at a London airport and his house was searched and property seized.

Items including a Lamborghini Aventador, 13 luxury watches and jewellery worth in the region of £340,000 were taken by police.

They also discovered instructions to investment sales staff and draft correspondence to be sent out to victims of the scam.

The investigation spanned many years with officers conducting worldwide enquires, including in Hong Kong and Dubai.

Numerous victims were contacted, and statements obtained, along with the analysis of bank accounts and following the money trail.

Detectives discovered many of the 43 victims had been promised investment returns in the region of 9 to 12 per cent in what was an extremely complicated scam involving an official business being set up in Canary Wharf.

The company was called Zurich Private Capital (ZPC) and they offered attractive returns in commodities that included oil and soya beans.

Many of the victims had been persuaded to invest through cold-calling and others by sophisticated marketing material.

Other victims felt they were pushed into investing whilst others felt reassured by the apparent legitimacy of the company.

Many had been told they had to keep their money invested for a minimum of three years to ensure of the best possible return.

After a while some of the victims became suspicious when they tried to withdraw their money.

Those who threatened ZPC with legal action, or who said they would involve a solicitor, were on occasion successful in getting their money returned.

Many however, had their emails and phone calls ignored.

The impact on the victims has been severe, several victims have since died, one attempted suicide, others have health conditions caused by the stress and others have had to remain in work until they are nearly 80.

PC Will Evans, from the Met’s Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, said: “The impact of this crime on the victims is absolutely shocking.

“Allard masterminded a sophisticated and convincing investment fraud to take advantage of vulnerable victims on a large scale.

“The money was used to fund a lavish and extravagant lifestyle, showing complete contempt for the victims.

“The Met will now utilise the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover any and all assets held worldwide.”