The West

A would-be financial whizkid has appeared in a British court accused of running an elaborate fraud in which millions of dollars of investors' money was lost on his lavish lifestyle.

Alex Hope, 25, promised investors a fortune but then spent their money on champagne, nightclubs and casinos, Southwark Crown Court was told.

'City whizkid' staged elaborate fraud, court told

Prosecutor Sarah Clarke said: "He promised investors and potential investors huge returns. In truth this was not a real trading scheme at all... it was a classic Ponzi fraud. He used their funds as his personal piggy-bank. A massive amount was spent on himself."

While he claimed to be a high-flier he was a former catering manager at Wembley Stadium, the court was told.

He used investors' cash as his "personal piggy-bank", spending more than $200,000 on a single bottle of champagne, the MailOnline reported.

Investors who got out were repaid using money from the latest people to get involved in his Ponzi scheme.

He spent almost $1.7m in casinos and $850,000 in exclusive nightclubs as he pretended to be a Forex trader.

Miss Clarke said: "The investors who put in the money in good faith had no idea this was happening."

She said one investor, retired teacher Christopher Millard handed over $25,000 from a redundancy payout with Hope promising to double an initial $17,000 investment within three months.

She said the money was spent on Mr Hope's lifestyle.

Mr Hope denies fraud.

The trial continues.

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