Graham Bradbury of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, has given a twelve year bankruptcy restrictions undertaking for running a pyramid scheme which left investors over half a million pounds out of pocket.

Mr Bradburys ban follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

As a result of the undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Mr Bradbury (67) is bound by restrictions set out in insolvency law that a bankrupt is subject to until they are discharged from bankruptcy normally 12 months until 2024.

The restrictions include a ban from acting as a director of a company without the permission of the court. He must also disclose his bankruptcy restrictions when applying for credit of more than 500, and the name by which he was made bankrupt when seeking to do any business in a different name.

Commenting on the case, Ken Beasley of the Insolvency Services Public Interest Unit said:

The Insolvency Service always looks very closely at individuals who act irresponsibly with other peoples hard-earned savings and takes action where wrongdoing is uncovered.

I am grateful for the assistance of the Financial Conduct Authority in completing our investigations.

Investigations uncovered that Mr Bradbury carried out unauthorised regulated activities as defined by Section 19 and 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 in that he was not authorised or exempt and was therefore prohibited from carrying on such activities.

Mr Bradbury operated Cherries Private Members Club (the Club). The object of the Club was to Carry the business of a Private Members Club and to provide facilities and run such schemes for the financial benefit of the members

The investigation found:the Club offered its members four schemes namely, Cherries Networking, Cherries Laying Service, Diamond Betting Service and Football Betting Service, Managed Accounts for the Cherries Laying Service, Diamond Betting Service and Football Betting Service and The Income Scheme.

The Club had three websites:

The website claimed:

Average returns of between 3% and 10% per month tax-free across our range of services

Simple alternative investment vehicle almost anyone can make money fromPLUS you can make a residual income via a highly profitable turnkey business model. Members could invest a minimum of 300 up to a maximum of 30,000 in each of the betting services.

An investigation by the FCA found the club claimed:

Our funds are held in the segregated Cherries Client Account at HSBC Bank; High Street; Sheffield S1 4HH. Monies held in this account remain at all times the property of our clients and save in accordance with your written instructions will neither be used in any other way by Cherries, nor form any part of the assets of Cherries Promotions.

The FCA investigations found no such account.

The Insolvency Service investigation also found that Mr. Bradbury failed to safeguard investors deposits of at least 521,562.

Had the Undertaking not been given, Mr Bradbury would have been discharged from bankruptcy on 17 September 2014.