Tax con nets Fife’s mystery millionaire

The article which appeared in the East Fife Mail in 2008
The article which appeared in the East Fife Mail in 2008

The man dubbed the “mystery millionaire” who disappeared from Fife almost eight years ago after leaving East Fife FC a local charity high and dry has been jailed.

David Valentine (57) vanished after charity officials launched an investigation into his Largo Trust project, and none of a promised £50,000 sponsorship for the football club was paid.

Now he has been found guilty in Hertfordshire of tax evasion after setting up a fake company, and sentenced to a total of 31 months in prison.

A British Transport Police (BTP) financial investigator described Valentine as: “A career criminal and con man, who, had he not been arrested in connection with a totally different offence, may still be committing crime today.”

Valentine was arrested in January 2014 at Watford Junction on an unrelated offence, but BTP officers found bank cards in another person’s name on him.

This led to an investigation by the BTP and tax authorities.

Last month at St Alban’s Crown Court he pleaded guilty to two counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of tax; supplying an article for use in fraud; transferring criminal property; and possession of an article for use in fraud.

In 2008, Valentine left a trail of deceit behind him in Fife.

Donors to his Largo Trust’s £15,000 appeal to save Sir Andrew Wood’s Tower had their money returned – Valentine claimed to have received only £496.

But apprentices taken on by Valentine to work on the Tower were not paid.

And East Fife Football Club did not see a penny of the promised £50,000, two-year sponsorship deal.

The deal was struck despite no one from the club ever having met Valentine.

It meant that plans for a community coach and new buildings had to be put on hold.

Valentine claimed he had paid workers out of his own pocket, spending “tens of thousands” of his own money.

Solicitor, accountant and web designer fees were also believed to have gone unpaid.