A “manipulative” accountant who conned a man with learning difficulties out of his home and life savings has been jailed for more than five years.
Sukhdev Singh, 73, persuaded his vulnerable victim into signing over his inherited £300,000 family home in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Singh also travelled to Gibraltar with the victim where he persuaded him to close his savings account and transfer the balance of more than £34,000 into the UK bank account of Singh’s company, SS Singh & Co.
He spent the money within a fortnight on expensive jewellery, gambling, bank transfers to accounts held by him in India, private school tuition fees and other domestic spending.
The man Singh targeted – who has not been identified by police – is in his 50s but a psychologist who assessed him confirmed his mental capacity to be that of a 12-year-old and vulnerable to exploitation.
In 2016 Singh convinced the victim to let his sole trader accountancy business receive and hold his savings subsequent to the death of his parents some years earlier.
These assets included the property in Harrogate, an apartment in Spain and tens of thousands of pounds in offshore savings accounts held with banks based in Gibraltar and Jersey.
From 2016 onwards, the victim continued to live at his house in Harrogate, but had unwittingly become a tenant of Singh’s company.
He also made a sustained and determined but failed attempt to have the deeds to the victim’s inherited Spanish holiday home fraudulently transferred to himself.
Singh’s deception was uncovered in 2019 after the victim’s property had fallen into a significant state of disrepair and he approached the local Citizens Advice Bureau for help.
After concerns were raised with social services, North Yorkshire Police got involved and Singh was arrested in July 2019.
Singh was charged with four counts of fraud but during his trial at York Crown Court, Singh claimed he had acted entirely in the victim’s interests and was simply following instructions.
After being found guilty of all charges last month, Singh, of Chelwood Drive, Moor Allerton in Leeds, has been jailed for five years and six months.
Former Detective Constable Ian Sharp, from North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “Sukhdev Singh had been an associate of the victim’s deceased parents, and had full knowledge of his learning difficulties.
He is a manipulative fraudster who displayed a callous lack of empathy for his vulnerable victim…
“Singh has behaved in an arrogant, deceitful way throughout and appears to have no remorse whatsoever for his crimes.”
The victim’s remaining assets were safeguarding after Singh’s crimes were uncovered, while the fraudulent transfer of the victim’s home has been reversed.