Ex-adviser jailed after conning pensioner out of £90k

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A former financial adviser has been jailed for abusing his friendship with a pensioner to con her out of £90,000.

The Lancashire Evening Post reports Iain Sarvent was sentenced to three years and eight months at Preston Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of theft and three of fraud.

According to the FCA register, Sarvent was a director at Barnsley-based independent advice firm Stonehaven Financial Services from October 2006 to October 2013.

The court heard Sarvent used his 68-year-old victim’s life savings to buy a £26,000 BMW sports car and set up an estate agency with his wife.

From 2009 to 2013 Sarvent advised her to make a number of investments on the property market, taking out mortgages and securing funding against her assets in what prosecutor Nicholas Courtney described as “wholly inappropriate” transactions.

He also opened up a joint bank account with the woman and when bank staff raised concerns about the amount of cash he was withdrawing and feeding into his own personal accounts he produced a power of attorney form, despite the pensioner being capable of making financial decisions for herself.

Sarvent advised the woman to buy his parents’ house in Doncaster at £10,000 over the market value as a buy-to-let property before setting up home there himself, rent free.

He also took £49,000 from the joint account he set up with the woman to set up Simpson Sarvent Estate Agency and to pay restaurant bills, holidays, cleaning and personal shopping bills.

Courtney said: “Iain Sarvent was a man in a financial mess who was happy to let the woman fund his lifestyle, believing she could afford to do so and probably intending he could repay her one day.”

The court heard Sarvent had debts and a credit card bill totalling more than £50,000.

Judge Robert Altham said: “These are mean and distasteful offences committed against a friend in breach of trust.”

In a victim personal statement, the pensioner said she had lost trust in people and professionals and had become more withdrawn and isolated as a result.