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Adviser jailed for conning elderly clients

An IFA has been jailed for 18 months after a court heard he tricked elderly women out of more than £60,000.

Eastbourne adviser John Meredith admitted obtaining money transfers by deception when he appeared before Lewes Crown Court.

Judge Anthony Scott-Gall told Meredith that what he had done was “despicable”.

The court that Meredith told elderly clients, including a woman aged over 90, that he was in debt after losing his job with the finance firm he worked for.

He persuaded clients to write him cheques totalling £60,000, with letters to say that the money was a gift. But Meredith had concealed the true nature of his financial position. He lived in a big detached house in Eastbourne and owned land in the US which he sold to buy a villa in Portugal.

The court was also told that he had been dismissed from his job because he had been visiting elderly clients without having a third party present.

Meredith was arrested by police last year after he conf-ided in a former colleague.

He told police that the money had been given to him as loans and that he intended to repay it.

Meredith’s barrister Tony Loader said the women had been his friends as well as his clients and that he intended to repay them.

He said: “It was an error of judgement which led Meredith into temptation.”

But Judge Scott-Gall told Meredith: “What you did was to con them out of £62,000 by a mixture of lies, deceits and untruths and the conman trick of playing on the kind hearts of people. It was despicable. You were comfortable but you still settled leech-like on these women to further your lifestyle.”

Meredith’s wife Maria had been charged with money laundering but charges were dropped.

A confiscation hearing to recover the money Meredith took will be held at a later date.

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