An Aston Martin Vantage.Photo: Aston Martin
Automotive YouTube is a deep, unseemly pool of hucksters, show-offs and superbrains locked somewhere inside a 25-minute video no soul has ever finished. What's worse than being an automotive YouTuber, though? Being an automotive YouTuber who also scams old people out of their pensions.
The scammer in question is Anthony Locke, 32, who also runs the YouTube account Gaskings, the vidoes of which have racked up nearly 190 million views since the account's creation in May 2014. But before he started YouTubin' Locke was busy running an elaborate scheme to scam pensioners out of nearly £1 million, U.K. police said Friday.
What did Locke do with the money? He used it in part on everyday living expenses, but he also bought a shit ton of cars, including an Aston Martin Vantage, a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Mercedes B180, an Audi R8, an Audi R5, and a Porsche 911, among other cars.
Here's the Daily Mail:
'It was spent on a number of things,' said [Stephen Hopper, a prosecutor].
'There's what appears to be a fair amount of online gambling and a lot of everyday expenditure.
'There are also significant sums spent on what the prosecution say is Mr Locke's true interest and really his true motivation.
'It's not ecologically sound investments, it wasn't to save the Amazon Rainforest.
'It's fast cars. Sports cars.'
Locke's scheme was simple: He or an accomplice convinced 16 people to invest their pensions in one of Locke's sham companies, promising them half the money upfront and the other half invested in environmentally friendly causes. Instead, a British court heard in recent weeks, Locke took that half for himself. Locke found his victims through a website he set up called Successful Pensions, which, in truth, should have been the first red flag.
This all happened, police said, between September 2013 and April 2014. The following month Locke set up his supercar-obsessed YouTube account, though it took a couple of years for videos to be posted with any regularity. Many of them feature supercars and Locke, like this one, one of the earliest, in which he visits a shop belonging to fellow YouTuber Yianni.
The most recent videos are more generic, and more recognisably YouTube, like Gaskings' last one, which is a compilation of police chases. A lot of them feature strange thumbnails, too.
Locke was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday, while an accomplice, Ray King, 54, was sentenced to three years in jail. His case first surfaced in late February in the Daily Mail; Gaskings last video was on March 9. As of today, Gaskings website is still up.
Investigating Officer Paul Sullivan said in a statement:
Locke was the architect of a callous and sophisticated fraud ... Not only have the victims lost half their pensions but now may face financial penalties from HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) who will want to recover the lost tax revenue.
The sentences imposed today send out a clear message to fraudsters who perpetrate these types of offences.