A recently widowed woman was treated to a £1,000 lunch at one of the country’s most exclusive restaurants by city fraudster Derek Gill – only to later discover that she was in fact paying the bill.
Gill, 66, took his own life by walking in front of a train near Woburn Sands on August 13, leaving behind a trail of deceit and trickery stretching across the south east of England.
The Stratford Financial boss conned dozens of his so called friends into handing over large sums of money for phony investments, and his victims have started to tell their stories to the Citizen.
It’s thought as many as 42 people have so far reported Gill to Action Fraud.
They include a 75-year-old woman who is now struggling to pay her bills after losing more than £200,000 to Gill.
Like most of his unwitting victims, she was taken in by Gill’s charm and promise of a significant return for her investment.
“I trusted him with my life,” she said. “He was very good to me to begin with but now he has taken all of my savings. I’m still hoping to wake up from this nightmare.”
Gill, who drove a Mercedes car, boasted a second holiday home in the Cotswolds, and had a share of a luxury boat on the south coast of Spain, maintained the ‘Ponzi’ scheme by paying his victims monthly ‘interest’ payments from their supposed investments.
The father of three claimed the money was paid into high-interest offshore accounts and managed to dodge questions about exactly where people’s money was by claiming it was ‘constantly moving around’.
The Citizen has heard from several of Gill’s victims, who all repeat a similar story of trust turned betrayal. The amount they have lost ranges from £20,000 to as much as a quarter of a million pounds.
“He took care of me when my husband died and I was left in financial trouble,” said the recently widowed woman.
“When I was back on track I invested money with him. I wrote seven cheques totalling £140,000. I was paid monthly payments of £2,000, but that has obviously stopped now.
“He took me out to lunch at Le Manoir, Raymond Blanc’s restaurant in Oxford, and he showed me the bill for about £1,000. I didn’t realise at the time that I was probably the one paying for it.”
A police investigation into Gill’s financial irregularities is still ongoing.
Meanwhile his funeral took place last week at Crownhill Crematorium and one of his victims who attended it described there as being a “very strange atmosphere” and said “no one was talking to anyone”.
“I considered Derek my friend,” he said. “I didn’t know how he had died at the time but I obviously heard that he had been hit by a train. I then heard the next day about what had been going on.
“There were not too many people there. I guess I know why now.”
A group of around a dozen of Gill’s victims are expected to meet to discuss launching a possible legal action against his estate in the coming days.