An accountant from Leeds is on his way to prison for the next few years. Instead of helping his clients with their finances, he robbed at least one of them in order to gamble and embezzle.
Sukhdev Singh will spend the next five and a half years behind bars – a considerable amount of time for a 73-year-old. The accountant received the sentence for ripping off a man with learning disabilities, according to a report by BBC News. The victim lost his home in North Yorkshire home and over £34,000 (US$41,826) he had in savings.
Singh allegedly spent the money gambling, as well as to purchase jewelry and cover school fees. The “manipulative fraudster” also sent some of it to bank accounts under his control in India.
Taking Advantage of His Clients
North Yorkshire Police stated that Singh’s victim, who hasn’t been identified, is a man in his 50s who was assessed as having the mental capacity of a 12-year old. Singh, in 2016, was able to convince him to transfer a £300,000 (US$369,000) Harrogate house he had inherited from his parents to Singh’s accounting firm. He allegedly then charged the man rent to live there.
He also tried to make the same effort with the Spanish vacation home that was left to him. However, he was unsuccessful. Spanish officials blocked the transfer after Singh was not able to produce documentation that he purchased the property from his victim.
Singh also traveled to Gibraltar that year with the victim. There, he coerced the victim to close his savings account and transfer the contents to Singh. The conman claimed that he would take care of these funds, but police say that he spent the money within two weeks after receiving them.
Singh’s crimes were discovered in 2019. The victim’s Harrogate property was in a serious state of disrepair, and in an effort to put things back in order, he called the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) to seek help.
Upon learning of the transfer of the property’s title, CAB officials became suspicious. They called police, which led to an investigation. Ultimately, they hit Singh with four counts of fraud.
After Singh was sentenced, Detective Constable Ian Sharp, the investigator in the case, stated that Singh had “full knowledge of [his victim’s] learning difficulties.” Still, he “exploited these vulnerabilities for his own advantage in order to systematically asset-strip him.”
Sharp added that Singh had behaved arrogantly and deceitfully throughout the investigation. He reportedly showed no remorse for his crimes.
Now, police have more work to do. They have already been able to reverse the change in title of the property to put it back in the victim’s name. In addition, they will work on seizing anything they can from Singh to provide restitution to the victim.
Not the First Wayward Accountant
This is not the first time North Yorkshire has had to deal with an accountant-turned-thief. Muhammed Faisal Yakoob, an accounting graduate, was part of a group of conspirators that convinced a victim in her seventies to turn over £400,000 (US$491,960).
Yakoob and his cohorts claimed to be from the victim’s bank, and that her account was being attacked by fraudsters. In 2016, they launched a three-week campaign of intimidation that resulted in the pensioner giving them her entire life savings.
The thieves also used mule accounts that could not be traced. This helped them gain access to the victim’s computer to take out a loan of £25,000 (US$30.745). After an investigation, which Sharp also led, Yakoob admitted to identity fraud and money laundering in court.
The scam fell apart when Yakoob used an anonymous alias to buy a company through which he obtained fake company bank accounts. When £125,000 (US$153,687) was transferred from one of those accounts, bank surveillance footage proved that Yakoob was behind the activity.
It took a while for the image to come into focus. The crimes were committed in 2016, but Yakoob didn’t appear in court in 2019. He received a jail sentence of three and a half years for his crimes.
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