A FRAUDSTER exposed by the Echo for selling green investment schemes that did not exist has been jailed for more than three years.

Matthew Ames, 38, of Goldfinch Lane, Thundersley, was sentenced to 40 months in prison at Isleworth Crown Court today.

Judge Paul Dugdale said Ames persuaded investors to part with life savings and pensions through slick brochures and the promise of significant returns he knew were not achievable.

Ames ran The Investor Club, which was supposedly selling investments in Sri Lankan teak trees, and Forestry for Life, a rainforest scheme, from a converted farm barn in Dunton Road, Laindon.

But the court heard the two firms defrauded investors out of their life savings and pensions with false promises of whopping 12 to 15 per cent interest returns.

The schemes lost a total of £1.6million, while Ames used some of the cash to pay for a Caribbean holiday and to buy a Lambhorgini.

Ames was investigated by City of London Police after an Echo undercover investigation in August 2010 revealed he was selling so called carbon credits that did not exist.