A fraudster is having his assets seized from around the world – and will be forced to pay up to £7million back to his victims.

A probe has been launched to trace Grahame Whitehead’s assets and financial experts have already found cash in offshore accounts in Guernsey, South Africa and Lichtenstein.

Whitehead, 48, formerly from Forest View Drive, Leigh, was jailed for ten years in April 2010 after fleecing clients of almost £12million. The sentence was cut to eight years on appeal.

Proceeds of crime applications have now been made to reclaim the money, with documents already lodged with authorities in Lichtenstein to recoup £400,000.

A further £170,000 is being sought through a property firm also in Lichtenstein, while a £60,000 reclaim is going through the South African high court. Chelmsford Crown Court heard it was “taking time” to deal with assets totalling £1.8million held in Guernsey.

However, almost £75,000 is with prosecutors and more money is due to be collected soon.

Whitehead still owes 46 people he defrauded more than £7.2million. Many were left broke.

He was jailed after admitting 49 fraud charges and asked for eight similar matters to be considered.

He ran a complex and sophisticated “pyramid fraud” from early 2004 until his arrest in 2009.

The fraud centred on Woodbridge Financial Services, of which Whitehead was a director.

The company was set up in August 2002, based in Lower Southend Road and Station Approach, Wickford. It offered independent financial advice and mortgage services.

No one else involved with the company, which went into liquidation in September 2007, was involved in the fraud.

Whitehead then formed Woodbridge FS Ltd and the frauds carried on.

He received a total of £11,946,840 in investments, of which he repaid £4,720,361.

Whitehead told his clients to pay funds they wanted to invest into one of several bank accounts controlled by him and he dispersed the money either into his own personal or family bank accounts.

Money from clients was also put towards his own business ventures, which included a game reserve and properties in South Africa, the court heard.