A BUSINESSMAN who conned pensioners out of £1m and spent the cash on gambling, holidays and cars is facing a prison sentence.

Anthony Locke, of Haslemere Avenue, Highcliffe, launched website Successful Pensions in a bid to attract people looking to free up money from their pensions.

The 32-year-old, who worked with Ray King, of Ashley Road, Parkstone, told customers he could give them an immediate payment equal to half of their total pension funds.

The remainder of the money would be reinvested in eco-friendly company Nature Eco Investments, he claimed.

As reported in the Daily Mail, the pair created an ‘elaborate facade’ to convince genuine companies, including Virgin Money, that they were operating a legitimate occupational pension scheme.

Pensioners were told their money would be reinvested through the scheme.

Victims were told to say they were employees of Locke’s bogus firm to give the impression the funds were not simply being cashed in, which would have resulted in heavy taxes.

However, in reality the remainder of the money was not reinvested, and King and Locke simply spent it themselves, a jury at Southwark Crown Court heard.

The pair bought supercars including an Aston Martin Vantage, a Porsche 911, a Mercedes B180 and an Audi R5.

Money was also spent on gambling and luxury holidays.

Funds were filtered through offshore accounts, as well as other held by Locke’s mother Jacqueline Humphreys and former partner Annabella Willcocks.

Jurors were told Locke’s “true interest and motivation” was buying sports cars.

The defendant has a YouTube channel, ‘Gas Kings’, which is devoted to cars, it was heard.

He used a fake name when talking to customers and was the ‘architect’ of the scam, while King answered calls and ‘sold’ the scheme over the phone once an applicant had registered online, it was heard during the trial.

The court heard 16 applicants in total were conned out of £999,266. Among the victims was someone unable to work through injury and a woman made homeless following a divorce.

Prosecutors said many of the victims faced the “only option” of cashing in their pension scheme.

Locke was convicted of 17 counts of fraud by false representation and three of money laundering following trial.

King, 54, was convicted of 13 counts of fraud by false representation, also after trial.

Sentencing has been adjourned until April 20.