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.
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.