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Elderly people are often vulnerable to fraudsters and that is why it is essential to ensure that they have access to proper legal advice. In one case that proves the point, a widow in her 80s was persuaded by a charming conman to transfer her £500,000 home into his name.
The fraudster posed as a financial adviser and convinced the widow, who is blind, that her property was being placed in a trust with a view to saving Inheritance Tax. In fact, it was conveyed into his sole name and he used it as security to raise a £300,000 mortgage before fleeing the country with the money.
He was eventually extradited back to Britain to stand trial and was jailed for ten years after being convicted of forgery, obtaining property by deception, money laundering, two counts of using a false instrument and four of obtaining a money transfer by deception.
The facts of the case emerged as the Court of Appeal dismissed a challenge to his convictions as wholly without merit and ordered him to serve an extra 28 days in prison for wasting judicial time. However, 146 days that he had spent in custody abroad, awaiting extradition, were credited against his sentence. The Court observed that, happily, the widow has received full restitution of her loss from the bank that granted the mortgage.