A disgraced financial advisor who swindled vulnerable pensioners out of more than £100,000 has been jailed.
Simon Kitchen, 44, from Black Bull Lane, Preston, pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud when he appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday relating to swindling a pensioner, who trusted him like a friend, out of £61,000.
It follows another case last October where he admitted conning an elderly lady out of more than £61,000 savings.
Jailing him for 32 months, Recorder Neville Biddle, told Kitchen: “You have not only brought shame on yourself, but you have undermined the confidence that people have, particularly elderly and vulnerable people, in their independent financial advisor.”
Kitchen, who was employed at the Lytham St Annes branch of the Skipton Building Society, was given a suspended sentence for fraud in October. That same month he sought an interview with the police to admit more offences.
The victim in the latest case, Lewis Rayton, from Preston, has since died.
The court heard Kitchen swindled the money to keep a “middle executive” lifestyle for his family, when his bonuses were cut.
Recorder Neville Biddle said it was difficult to envisage a more vulnerable person. Court heard Mr Rayton cared for his wife’s disabled son she died.
Mr Joseph Allman, prosecuting, said Mr Rayton trusted the defendant with all his investments. Kitchen visited him in his home and subsequently, in the nursing home he moved into. He said “He trusted the defendant implicitly. As his health continued to deteriorate, the defendant would prepare paperwork for him and Mr Rayton would simply sign it. He even considered the defendant a friend.”
Kitchen opened a Halifax account, in his own name, to receive £60,865 funds defrauded from the elderly man. A total of four transactions were carried out.
Mr Stuart Mills, defending, said that when the “bubble burst”, his client had been going through a very traumatic time.
“His whole life came crashing down around his ears. He stands in the dock quaking at the thought of what can happen to him.”
Mr Mills explained: “He was providing his family with a lifestyle of a middle executive. He wasn’t driving around in a Rolls Royce.
“The offending started because he took on additional commitments. He moved to a bigger house.
“His bonuses were reduced and in order not to appear a failure in front of his family, he wanted to try and maintain that lifestyle, turning to other means of obtaining money.
“He bought scratch cards, trying to get the big win.
“The irony is that he has now completely lost the family, the career and the lifestyle he had built up for himself. It’s an extraordinary fall from grace. He is absolutely devastated at what he has done.”
The judge, Recorder Neville Biddle, told Kitchen: “You have not only brought shame on yourself, but you have undermined the confidence that people have, particularly elderly and vulnerable people, in their independent financial advisor.
“You should have grasped the problem you were facing and dealt with it, but you didn’t.
“At the other hearing you knew all the time you had committed these other offences, but you shut up about them, hoping perhaps to mislead the court, on that occasion into giving you a more lenient sentence than otherwise might have been the case.”