Elliott Short, the fraudster who claimed to have made £21 million laying bets on Betfair and that convinced family friends to invest hundreds of thousands in his betting system, promising huge returns that never materialized, was jailed for five years.
A London court heard how the self proclaimed King of Betfair used the money he received from investors to take expensive holidays, buy designer clothes, party in nightclubs and restaurants.
Judge Peter Testar said Short used his charming personality to exploit others’ trust.
In 2009, the News of the World wrote an article reporting how an out-of-job City trader (Short) had allegedly won more than £20 million betting on horses and was willing to share his secrets with other punters.
The now defunct tabloid revealed that Short's horse betting system consisted in acting as the bookmaker and laying bets on the favorite for each race and on a second a horse, generally a long shot.
"It is much easier to predict which horses are going to lose, rather than which horse is going to win," Elliott told the News of the World.
But many of the claims published by the tabloid were immediately disputed by Betfair.
The betting exchange in particular denied that any Betfair customer won anything even vaguely approaching the amounts quoted by the News of The World, which was later forced to print a retraction.
Elliott Short is however not an isolated case.
In Australia, Timothy Magnus was in 2012 jailed for a minimum of 33 months for his role in a betting syndicate in which 34 people lost over $1.5 million between December 2005 and April 2007. The Herald Sun recently revealed that Magnus was linked to yet another betting syndicate that promised a number of AFL footballers to place bets on their behalf on UK horse racing, but was eventually revealed to be an online betting scam that cost investors at least $1 million.