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Conman took £50k from pensioners

Court News

Court News

A conman is facing jail after fleecing pensioners out of tens of thousands of pounds.

Financial adviser Stuart Sermon, 48, admitted stealing £50,000 from two vulnerable and elderly residents after offering to help them with their finances.

A judge heard that self-employed Sermon, of Bellingham Avenue, Wigan, was taken on as a consultant with BL Investments Limited of Haydock on a commission-only basis.

However, he came to the attention of the authorities four years ago after visiting 85-year-old Mary Gabbott at her home in Bamber Bridge.

The independent senior citizen lived alone but had some support from carers who would help with shopping and household chores.

In November 2010 a carer showed Mrs Gabbott a letter from her bank stating she was £9,500 overdrawn, leaving the pensioner unable to pay for her care costs.

The previous week, Mrs Gabbott had been visited by a man claiming to be from the bank, offering to go through her details with her.

When it emerged her savings were missing a social worker contacted the police and an investigation was launched.

Sadly, however, Mrs Gabbott died last August, before Sermon entered his guilty pleas and the charges relating to the elderly woman were left to lie on the file.

But by then investigations had uncovered two other allegations.

And this week Sermon pleaded guilty to two counts of theft when he appeared at Preston Crown Court.

He admitted stealing £25,000 from a 63-year-old Wigan man and to another charge of stealing £24,470 from an elderly man who lives in a Wigan nursing home and has dementia.

It is understood Sermon invested the money for the pensioners, then made out cheques to himself for supposedly going above and beyond his usual duties.

It was alleged he made himself the executor of their wills.

Judge Christopher Cornwall said the thefts represented a serious breach of trust and warned Sermon a jail sentence was “inevitable.”

Sermon will be sentenced on August 15, and a proceeds of crime hearing has been scheduled to take place on October 27.

The phone lines to BL Investments, of Chisledon Close in Haydock, were ringing unobtainable today and Sermon was not at his home to give a further comment.

 
 
 

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