A FRAUDSTER who posed as a successful stockbroker to steal thousands from family, friends and strangers was branded as the “lowest form of human being”.

Heartless James Bufton was condemned by his aunt who confessed to hating him after he stole her late husband’s pension pot.

He even pretended to be his uncle Horace in the days following his death from cancer to squeeze every penny he could from his estate.

Bufton, 26, then went on to fleece the unsuspecting grieving widow after pocketing the £15,000 she got from the sale of her husband’s Land Rover Freelander.


Her nephew told her he had built up a £70,000 nest egg and would further invest the money from the 4x4.

But in reality, there was no fortune. His 61-year-old aunt is now penniless and has to survive on £317 in Universal Credit a month.

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Bufton had a taste for the high life. Picture: Facebook

Bufton had spent his relatives’ money on lap dancers, gambling, champagne, five-star hotels and private helicopter trips to the Cheltenham Festival.

He had an insatiable taste for the high life and boasted of partying with superstar singer Rihanna after one of her concerts in London.

In a victim impact statement read to Newport Crown Court by prosecutor Timothy Evans, his aunt Susan Bufton said: “I initially refused to believe he would treat me in such a way.

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Getting friendly with pop superstar Rihanna at a VIP party in London. Picture: Facebook

“Then I got to realise how low James Bufton would stoop.

“This is disgraceful behaviour which I will never forgive him for. I have been left with nothing.

"I have been left feeling hate towards him and have thought about taking my own life."

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Bufton did work for a time as a trainee stockbroker. Picture: LinkedIn

Another victim was Simon Thomas, a close friend of the defendant’s father Brian Bufton, who was conned out of £20,000.

His statement read: “James Bufton is the lowest form of human being, not caring in the slightest of the distress and damage he inflicts on people with his desire to live the high life at whatever cost to other people."

"He is a lazy, uncaring conman."

Bufton also used his then girlfriend’s parents, Paul and Beverley Cooper, to launder money.

Mr Evans told the court: “They treated him like a son.

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James Bufton's mugshot after being arrested. Picture: Gwent Police

"He presented himself as a very generous, successful stockbroker who would send Mother's Day cards, always bring flowers and other gifts when he visited.

“He went on holiday with them. Mr Cooper saw him as a well-educated, well-dressed, impressive person in the stockbroking business making a lot of money through shrewd investment.”

The defendant’s victims lost more than £250,000 combined and he left the taxpayer out of pocket to the tune of £750,000 following a VAT scam.

Bufton, of Downing Street, Newport, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering.

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The defendant enjoying a cocktail. Picture: Facebook

He was a calculating criminal

He was jailed for six years by Judge Daniel Williams who told him: "You sought to portray yourself as a successful investor with a lifestyle to match your glittering success.

"There was no depth to which you were not willing to stoop."

Outside the court, Detective Constable Josie Conway, from Gwent Police’s major incident team, said: “Bufton portrayed himself as a stockbroker in order to fraudulently obtain money from family members, friends and investors.

“He was a calculating criminal, who used his victims’ savings to fund his lifestyle, attempting to keep up the pretence that he was a successful businessman.

“This has been a complex fraud investigation and we welcome the sentence which I hope will provide some closure to his victims moving forward.

“I would like to thank the victims in this case for their courage. Bufton’s crimes have had a profound effect upon his victims and left them questioning who they can believe.

“He abused their trust and continued to lie to them as to why their money could not be returned.

“Fraudsters like Bufton use sophisticated and well-rehearsed techniques to con victims.

“I would urge anyone who has been a victim of fraud or who has concerns about fraudulent activity to report it to police or seek advice from Action Fraud.”