THE former deputy chairman of Leyton Orient Football Club has admitted cheating investors out of £32m by promising them high returns on their deposits with him.
High flying City stockbroker Nicholas Levene, 48, Nicknamed ‘Beano’ because of his schoolboy love of the comic, kept customers happy by using other investors' money to give the impression he was earning them healthy yields.
Levene, who had been due to stand trial next month, appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to the four year-long scam.
Investors were heard to have been offered shares in a range of companies, including HSBC Holdings Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland, Imperial Energy Ltd and Rio Tinto Plc.
Among his victims were Stagecoach Group co-founders, brother and sister Brian Souter and Ann Gloag, who lost £10m to Levene.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said: “The fraud counts to which Mr Levene has now pleaded guilty are in the sum of £32,352,027.83."
Judge Martin Beddoe refused an application for a pre-sentence report saying: “There's only one type of sentence I can pass.”
Levene's offending began in April 2005 when he persuaded Tadco Limited to part with £571,261 on the pretence he would buy 140,000 shares in Imperial Energy Plc.
In September of the same year, together with Rapahel Haas, he admitted falsifying six bank statements so they 'did not accurately and fully represent the true debits, credits and account balances to the said account during the stated periods'.
In April 2007 Levene tricked Yigal Ahouvi into paying £14,900,000 into an account in Monaco held in the name of Niblick Investments SA, claiming it would be used to buy shares in Delek Global Real Estate and cover transaction costs.
A year later he duped Timothy Hutchins and Parviz Hakim Rad into handing over more than £1m for shares in Imperial Energy Plc.
Between January and September 2009 he defrauded Julan Shah out of more than more £1.6m for shares in Lloyds TSB, Xstrata PLC, ENEL, and Rio Tinto PLC.
Also in 2009 he took £10m from Mr Souter and Mrs Gloag - to buy shares in mining group Xstrata Plc and HSBC.
Levene further admitted to defrauding Philip Bowman and Timothy Clink into handing over almost £500,000 to buy Xstrata Plc and, later, Rio Tinto Plc shares, and taking around £1.6m from Simon Holden, Marvin Mermelstein, Akiva Klein, Jacob Sofer.
Between April and September 2009 he pleaded guilty to taking £1m from Glenn Coleman and £1.3m from Russell Bartlett for ENEL and Rio Tinto Plc shares.
Levene, of Barnet Road, Barnet, admitted 12 counts of fraud, one count of obtaining a money transfer by deception, and one count of false accounting.
He was granted conditional bail and will be sentenced on October 22.