Former UK Cop Admits Orchestrating £4M Betting Syndicate Ponzi

Estimated read time 3 min read

A British former police officer has pleaded guilty to five charges related to the running of a “Ponzi scheme” horse-betting syndicate that defrauded investors of millions.

Michael Stanley, above, arriving at a courtroom in Sevenoaks, England, to plead guilty to a “massive fraud.” This involved convincing investors in his betting syndicate he could win them easy money by betting on horses to lose. (Image: Press Association)

Michael Stanley, 67, was once a sergeant for Kent Police. But from 2012 to 2019, he operated the Layezy Racing Group, which promised investors big returns thanks to his “winning betting system.”

Stanley marketed the syndicate as “virtually risk free,” according to prosecutors. The Layezy Racing Group attracted around £44 million in investment from thousands of people. An estimated £34 million was paid back to earlier investors in the manner of a Ponzi scheme. leaving a shortfall of about £10 million.

‘Holy Grail’

Stanley said his system involved laying horses to lose via betting exchanges. In an email to a potential investor, he admitted to feeling “rather smug” because he knew he had “found a missing link, my holy grail, that is a winning system.”

“I have now worked out that the definite way of beating the bookies is to become one!” he added.

Layezy has developed a method of betting with a small advantage after recording and analyzing thousands of races, and there are limited places available for new members,” he lied in another marketing email.

Stanley claimed that his system gave him an 8.17% advantage in the betting markets, adding that sports wagering companies like William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Corals [sic] work on an 8% margin.

“So if you want to know what you are investing in, imagine you are a major shareholder in one of them. That’s pretty exciting, isn’t it?” he asked.

Lousy Gambler

It is true that a very tiny percentage of gamblers could turn a long-term profit in the way Stanley is describing. The problem was, Stanley wasn’t one of them.

In fact, in the last few years of the operation, he had given up on laying bets completely, according to a 2019 Daily Mail investigation.

Stanley was arrested by his former colleagues at Kent Police in August 2019. He was subsequently charged with dishonestly making false representations to members of the Layezy Racing Syndicate and four counts knowingly running a business for a fraudulent purpose.

The ex-cop pleaded guilty to all five offences at a court in Sevenoaks, Kent on Thursday. He will be sentenced at a later date.

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