Jan 13 2012 by Stephen Robertson, Stirling Observer Friday
A CALCULATING fraudster who conned a grandmother out of her £150,000 life savings has been jailed for two years and four months.
Gambling addict and disgraced former financial advisor Ryan Burnside (35) fleeced the cash from Margaret Gallivan (62) telling her that he was investing it in a Lithuanian bank.
But this turned out to be a pack of lies and Burnside was instead frittering her money away in casinos.
He had previously worked as a senior financial advisor for investment firm Albannach back in 2008. Around this time, he was allocated to provide advice to Mrs Gallivan, who stays in Bridge of Allan.
But Burnside was dismissed from the company soon after.
This affected his registration with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) meaning that he could not set up as a financial advisor.
But Burnside kept this from the unsuspecting Mrs Gallivan when she asked him to continue advising her, giving him the opportunity to carry out his heartless crime.
Burnside even got Mrs Gallivan to part with more cash by brazenly telling her that some of her investments were under-performing when all the time they were instead funding his own gambling addiction.
He also lied about his personal life, inventing a fictitious family and boasting about his property developing, land and fancy cars, all of which was false.
He was only caught after Mrs Gallivan’s son discovered that Burnside was no longer registered with the FSA and his fraudulent plan disintegrated.
Burnside later pleaded guilty to pretending that he was an independent financial advisor and obtaining £150,000 by fraud. The offence took place between November 12, 2008 and April 20, 2010.
His plea was tendered at Stirling Sheriff Court last month and sentence was deferred until this week for reports.
At court on Wednesday, solicitor Frazer McCready said that Burnside was aware that he faced prison for the offence.
By way of background, Mr McCready said that the report prepared indicated that Burnside had previously been “very successful” in his career in the financial sector, earning a basic salary of around £75,000.
He added, however, that Burnside’s gambling started back in 2005 and he went on to run up debts of £40,000.
The court was told that Burnside later started gambling more of Mrs Gallivan’s money to try and recoup what he had already lost but that he was effectively “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
Mr McCready added: “He has let down, not only himself but his family. He wishes to apologise to the complainer.”
Jailing Burnside, Sheriff William Gilchrist told him: “This was a gross breach of trust. Imprisonment is inevitable and the only issue is the duration.
“I have taken account of the amount, which was substantial, the period over which this offence was committed and the effect on the victim who has effectively been defrauded of her savings.”
Burnside, of Uphall Station, West Lothian, was then jailed for two years and four months, this being reduced from a starting point of three-and-a-half years.