A former Prudential adviser has been jailed for 22 months for stealing more than 36,000 from an elderly widow
Steven Yates, who pleaded guilty to a series of false accounting charges at an earlier hearing, was appearing for sentencing before Bradford Crown Court.
The court heard that 74-year-old widow Joan Wild had continued to entrust family financial affairs to Yates following the death of her husband in 1996.
Evidence was given to the court that between April 1999 and November 2000, Yates stole 36,450 from her accounts.
The court heard that Yates was made redundant from Prudential in 2001. Evidence was also given that Prudential had no knowledge of his activities and had since reimbursed Mrs Wild. The company was now reclaiming the money from Yates.
Yates’s barrister told the court he would not be able to pay back the final 10,000 still outstanding if he lost his current job.
But jailing Yates, Judge Roger Scott said: “You have no concept of what you have done. Indeed, you do not think you have been dishonest at all. You have conned yourself into thinking you would ever repay this money.
“You milked Mrs Wild’s accounts in the knowledge that she did not know anything about her finances really. It was her husband who looked after things. There are countless women in a similar position throughout the country and they have to rely on people such as financial advisers.
“Happily, they can in general terms rely on people such as you but she drew a bad egg when she drew you. She trusted you implicitly and you knew that you could milk her without any fear of being found out.”
“Any idea that this is not a bad case should be forgotten. This is a bad case. It is necessary for people to know that they will be dealt with professionally and, above all, honestly, by financial advisers.”