Members of a horse racing owners club and associated betting syndicate have been left unsure of whether they will get any of their millions of pounds of savings back, after a promised update failed to materialise.
More than 300 worried members of the Layezy Racing gambling syndicate - which is closing down - have set up a secret social media group to voice their despair since this newspaper published concerns about the scheme and its founder, ex-Kent Police officer Mike Stanley.
As we revealed last month, millions of pounds have been paid into a betting syndicate by hard-working individuals - most of whom live in Kent - and has been used by Mr Stanley, 62, to buy and fund 23 racehorses he now owns, apparently without members' knowledge.
It is understood that the members felt forced to set up the secret group on Facebook after feeling 'censored' by Stanley, who deleted comments that criticised him on any public groups and then turned off the ability to comment.
One member, who wished to remain anonymous, told Sportsmail how they had invested £4,500 in the gambling syndicate a few years ago and thought that it was now worth £19,500, according to the private website that members can log into. Now they fear they will not see any of it back.
Asked what the impact would be, the member, a project engineer from Kent, replied: 'Quite frankly I am staring down the barrel of a £12,000 wedding to pay for in September. I nearly withdrew my money last year but I just thought I'd watch the numbers roll up a bit more. Now I don't imagine anyone will see anything of their money.
'No one knows now if the betting syndicate ever existed. Because I got money out at the start I have recommended people to it, which makes me feel awful.'
Mr Stanley had sent an update to members - via social media and email - on Friday to announce that both the betting syndicate and racehorse owners club would be closing.
He wrote: 'As a result of recent events and media attention, the Layezy Owners Club and Betting Syndicate are to be brought to a close. I am in the process of appointing financial experts to oversee the return of investments. A further update will be provided with contact details on Monday. Best wishes Mike.'
However, there was no such update and sources suggested that Mr Stanley had struggled to find 'financial experts' to take on the responsibility of overseeing the closure of the syndicate.