A “confidence trickster” conned a family friend with Alzheimer’s out of nearly £60,000 by promising to invest it and pay him back, a court heard.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Christopher Carter convinced 78-year-old Everard Williams to part with a large amount of his savings by telling him he would get every penny back, plus interest.
When he reported the matter to the police, Mr Williams said: “There’s no fool like an old fool and I was taken for a ride.”
Carter, 48, denied fraud amounting to almost £60,000 between November 2015 and April 2018 and was found guilty by a jury.
Judge Jenkins jailed him for six years and told him: “What you have done and what you continue to do is disgraceful.”
Prosecutors alleged Carter, who had no income, “latched on” to Mr Williams then “duped and repeatedly deceived him”.
The court heard widower Mr Williams was living on his own in Llandaff North, Cardiff. He went to the police station in Fairwater on May 11 last year and told officers what had happened.
Mr Griffiths said: “Carter took advantage of Mr Williams because of the friendship he and his mother had with him over the years.”
Mr Williams was persuaded to invest in Carter’s “businesses”, but the money was actually used to subsidise his living expenses.
He said he thought the defendant was a “genuine person” and he asked for the cash “with charm”, adding: “I trusted him.”
The complainant told the police the monies transferred to Carter were loans to be invested and he was expecting to get them back with dividends.
He said the defendant often accompanied him to Lloyds Bank, either on Queen Street or Whitchurch Road.
Mr Williams told officers: “I did always have the feeling at the back of my mind that I was being duped.”
He said Carter promised: “You’ll get every penny back. You might even get a bonus on it.”
The complainant told the police: “He said he was going to invest, but I never knew exactly what those investments were. With hindsight, I should have asked more about what the loans were for.”
Mr Griffiths said the victim was “fobbed off” with generalisations and Carter gave an impression of success, despite having no income.
He described the defendant as a “confidence trickster”, adding: “I feel such a fool for being conned.”
The victim, who worked hard all his life, was left with “a fraction” of his savings. He told the police the savings were there to maintain his quality of life and ultimately pay for his own burial.
When he was interviewed, he told officers he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The court heard his condition has deteriorated and he was not able to attend to give evidence.
Carter accepted Mr Williams had transferred him just under £60,000, but denied there was any dishonesty, telling the court: “I was completely honest at every stage.”
Lowri Wynn Morgan, defending, reminded the jury the prosecution had to make them sure the defendant had deliberately misled Mr Williams.
Carter said he had been to prison, but changed after getting involved with a rehabilitation project.
He said he had ambitions to work with disadvantaged young people and set up a company to help ex-offenders. He said he was not paid and applied for funding, but did not get it.
He claimed Mr Williams gave him the money willingly and knew exactly where it was going – to cover his living expenses while he worked on his projects.
Carter said: “I did not exploit him. I am an honest man. I always intended to pay him back.”
Carter, from Attlee Terrace on Prospect Hill in London, denied fraud, but was found guilty by the jury following a three-day trial.
Judge Jeremy Jenkins compared him to the fictional character Walter Mitty – “a complete and utter fantasist such as yourself”.