Former Lloyds adviser accused of £290k theft from elderly clients

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A financial adviser has been charged with fraud after he took £290,000 from elderly clients, a court has heard.

Carl O’Connell, a former Lloyds bank employee, allegedly took £265,020 from 88-year old Helen Smith before she died in January this year, as well as a further £25,500 from 95-year old Joyce Harper to help pay off his mortgage, the Bristol Post reports.

O’Connell, 45, of Bradley Stoke in Bristol, denies the charges.

Prosecuting, James Tucker told a jury: “Carl O’Connell abused his position as a trusted financial adviser to take money from elderly, vulnerable women, promising to invest it for them but ultimately using it to fund the lifestyle he and his wife enjoyed.”

Harper said she met O’Connell when he worked at Lloyds bank in Westbury-on-Trym, and continued to seek his investment help when he left.

However, when Harper’s nephew looked through her bank statements he found a £15,000 cheque which could not be accounted for, with further investigation uncovering a second cheque for £10,550.

Harper told the court: “His relationship with me was purely professional at all times. I don’t know if he will say I gave him that £15,000 as a present. That’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Smith was interviewed by police prior to her death, with the jury played a DVD of the session.

In her interview, Smith said: “I’ve never given him money. I’ve never intended to give him money.”

The case continues.