A CONMAN who partied with pop superstar Rihanna masqueraded as a wealthy and successful stockbroker to swindle investors to fund a champagne lifestyle.

Described by one victim as the “lowest form of human being”, James Bufton left his own aunt penniless after he stole his dying uncle’s life savings.

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He fleeced his then girlfriend’s parents, a close family friend and others out of £253,000 and scammed the taxpayer out of £750,000 in a VAT fraud.

Bufton, 26, of Newport, would spend clients’ investment and loan payments to hire private helicopters, visit lap dancing clubs and gamble.


He claimed to have been trained by leading investment firm Goldman Sachs as he went about duping a number of victims.

South Wales Argus:

James Bufton. Picture: Gwent Police

Prosecutor Timothy Evans told the city’s crown court: “The defendant developed a toolbox of dishonest techniques, using his persuasive manner, his fabricated successful persona, and forged misleading documents to con anyone he could out of their own money.

“It seems to have made no difference to him whether these were close family, a dying man, a grieving widow, a family friend, his girlfriend’s parents, a businessman or someone he happened to meet in a club.

“They were all fair game. He took their money and spent it down the drain.”

Mr Evans said Bufton pretended to be his uncle Horace Bufton days after he had passed away from cancer to squeeze more money from his estate.

Anwar Nashishibi, mitigating, said his client was "genuinely remorseful" for his actions.

He told how Bufton had received “threats and intimidation” over his debts, including bricks thrown through his window and his car set on fire.

Bufton, of Downing Street, pleaded guilty to fraud, VAT fraud and money laundering between 2013 and 2018.

The swindler was told by Judge Daniel Williams: "There were no depths that you were not prepared to stoop.

"You have no conscience or remorse for what you have done."

He jailed him for a total of six years.

The defendant is due to face Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings in the new year.

In November 2011, Bufton went to the lengths of sending out a press release claiming he had charmed megastar Rihanna after meeting her in London.

He mingled with the Barbadian singer at a backstage VIP party following her show at O2 Arena and boasted they got along so well she invited him to visit her in New York.

Bufton said at the time: “She's a really lovely girl, really down to earth, normal and fun.

“Getting to meet her after the gig was a dream come true and we talked about everything under the sun.”

He also claimed: “We chatted about how the tour is going, her interests, her songs and what she's planning on doing next.

“We even talked about meeting up again in New York – we're going to keep in touch.”