A PENSIONER has appeared in court accused of defrauding people out of close to £2 million.

David Stevens, has been charged with 16 counts of fraud by false representation and another count of obtaining a money transfer by deception.

In total, the 66-year-old is alleged to have conned people out of £1.931million between January 2005 and 2018.

During a short hearing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court, Stevens, of Hadrian Close, Colchester, denied the 17 charges against him.

It is alleged Stevens took the cash from people and said it would be used for short terms loans for his contacts or reputable businesses However, he is then said to have made an illegal gain for himself.

Stevens allegedly told the majority of people they could expect to see a 12 per cent yield on their investments per annum.

The amount of cash taken from individuals ranges from £10,000 to £720,000.

Other alleged victims claim to have been conned out of £250,000, £194,800, £110,000, £100,000 and £99,000.

Each charge relates to a different complainant.

The case is being investigated by the specialist fraud division of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Stevens claims the money was obtained legally by loans and were a civil debt and not fraudulent.

During the short hearing, Stevens spoke only to confirm his personal details and that he denied the charge.

Grace Court, prosecuting, said the offences were too serious to be heard at magistrates court.

“This is a case which involved fraud of more than £1million,” she said.

“I would suggest it is wholly unsuitable for you to retain jurisdiction.”

The bench allocated the matter to Chelmsford Crown Court.

Stevens will next appear on or within a week of December 4.

Chairman of the bench Malcolm Jessop said: “As you have heard, this matter will go to Chelmsford Crown Court on December 4 or seven days thereafter for a pre-trial hearing to establish the circumstances and hopefully set a trial date.

“In the mean time you are granted unconditional bail but if you fail to come back to court you may commit an offence for which you could be arrested and sent to prison.

“If you commit another offence while on bail your sentence could be greater.”