A WIRRAL businessman who defrauded 127 elderly investors in an elaborate savings scam has lost a bid to appeal against his conviction.

Wallasey man Malcolm Barber was jailed for four years in January after being found guilty of two counts of fraudulent trading and one count of carrying out an unauthorised investment business.

In all, 70-year-old Barber and accomplice Terry Warrington - who pleaded guilty to similar charges and one of theft before Barber's trial and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison - left investors in their Gentry IT and Dublin CF businesses collectively out of pocket by a staggering £5m.

Barber, of Links Views, appeared before the Court of Appeal in London this month where he argued that he should be allowed to appeal against his conviction.

But the application was rejected by a single judge.

One of Barber's victims, Eileen Dunn, only discovered her money was gone in 2010 when she began the process of sorting out the affairs of her late husband Michael, who died in December 2009.

Mrs Dunn, who sought the return of thousands of pounds but was continually fobbed off by the pair, told the Globe today she was "delighted" to see Barber’s appeal turned down.

The 71-year-old said: “It was pretty obvious from the comments made by the trial judge after the jury found Barber guilty that the basis of any appeal would be on very dodgy ground.

“He’s only done it because he’s still trying to save face and that precious reputation of his, even though that is now gone forever.

“Obviously I’m delighted Barber’s appeal has been turned down, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of where all the money has gone. Barber still doesn’t get it. He clearly believes his own sales patter.”

Barber and Warrington had promised complete security bonds to investors through their companies, offering loans to those who had been turned down by the banks.

Judge Christopher Cornwall described Barber and Warrington as conducting an "elaborate exercise to conceal the truth" from the investors who, for the most part, had hoped the money would help secure a comfortable life after retirement and allow them to provide for their children.

He said the businesses had been "effectively crippled" after they had to pay £400,000 in unpaid tax after the Inland Revenue said they were liable to abide with UK tax laws, despite moving the businesses offshore to the Isle of Man in the early-1990s.

A process under the Proceeds of Crime Act will establish how much Barber benefited from his crimes and which of his assets could be confiscated to meet the total bill.

A five-day hearing, originally scheduled for September, has been pushed back until March next year, meaning victims will have to wait to find out if they can recover any of their losses.

Both Barber and Warrington will serve half of their sentence before being released on license for the remaining time.