A financial adviser who defrauded an elderly widow out of more than £100,000 has been jailed for three years.
Daniel Birkett from Whitehaven admitted theft, forgery and false accounting charges at Carlisle Crown Court last week.
The court heard that Birkett, an independent financial adviser, had taken on the elderly widow as one of his clients and told her that he would invest her money for her following the death of her husband.
However, he kept the money instead, fleeing to the US where he lived for three years. He was arrested by police at Heathrow when he had to leave America after his visa expired.
Prosecutors told the court that the widow, who was not named, had been left shocked and upset by the fraud.
She said that she had trusted Birkett and was having difficulty coming to terms with what had happened.
It was also unclear whether there were other clients he had also defrauded who had not as yet been discovered.
In mitigation, it was said that Birkett was now full of remorse for what had happened and that he intended to make a full repayment. It was said that he had initially invested cash correctly until his own financial position deteriorated.
But, sentencing him to be jailed for three years, judge Barbara Forrester said that Birkett had acted in a manner that was “completely cynical.”
She added: “I am horrified by the thought that he would ever be able to work as a financial adviser ever again.”
She ordered that a confiscation hearing should take place at a later dateThe court heard that Birkett had property in the UK which could be sold to return the money to the widow.