|A man posing as the Duke of Braemore was behind the IntelliBET scam, which cost UK punters more than £500,000. Two UK police forces have been investigating the whereabouts of the so-called Duke, who bought his title ‘off the shelf’. |
Derek Robinson, AKA the Duke, lived a millionaire lifestyle - he flew by hired helicopter to race meetings and entertained royally at racecourses.
But investors in his computerized betting scheme, who had been promised regular monthly payments, became suspicious after cheques bounced or did not arrive last summer. Robinson is believed to have fled the UK after the police and the newspaper Scotland on Sunday began investigating his activities.
A former associate of Robinson’s said that Robinson had last been seen in Ireland with his American wife Sheryl.
After Scotland on Sunday’s initial article, Robinson claimed that he had secured a deal with an unnamed buyer to take over IntelliBET as a going concern, and that the investors would get their money.
'We will be releasing a press statement,' he told the newspaper, 'but I can’t make any comment that might jeopardize that.'
No such press statement was issued, and no buyer was found for the company. According to Charlie Byers a business associate of Robinson’s, the plan didn’t exist.
Byers described how Robinson’s IntelliBET Internet tipster service worked:
IntelliBET’s claimed to offer punters a ‘no-lose’ scheme to invest on sure-fire winners, although Robinson later diversified into horse ownership. Punters’ initial investments ranged from £2000 to £32,000, although more than 30 clients are known to have lost five figure sums.
With a system based on race statistics, Robinson invested clients’ money on what were supposed to be certain winners. But last July, according to Byers, the plan turned sour when a string of results went against him.
Robinson had claimed that the investors were aware that they were gambling, and could lose their money, but Byers kept documents that show how the IntelliBET operation worked. These demonstrate that once Robinson started to bet losers, the whole operation would fold, and the initial promise that investments would never be lost was false – a promise which has led to the police investigation.
According to Byers, Robinson had claimed that 98% of his clients would win money and 2% might lose.
It since emerged that the total losses may be much higher than the original estimate of £500,000 - one punter alone is said to have lost £150,000.
IntelliBET’s head office is still listed at Aspect Court, 116 West Regent Street, Glasgow, although a receptionist said the occupiers had left months ago.