Accountant stole £330k from Man with Learning Difficulties

Sukhdev Singh, aged 73, of Leeds, was jailed for five and a half years for fraud. The accountant stole £330,000 from a man with learning difficulties.

York Crown Court heard that Singh had promised the victim’s father he would look after his son, who has the mental age of 12 and was unable to look after his financial affairs.

The victim had been living in the house his deceased father had left him.

But Singh had deliberately targeted him and set about stripping him of his assets.

While the victim lived in a damp pigeon-infested house that required work on the kitchen and bathroom, Singh had been using the money to fund gambling.

In addition to gambling, Singh spent over £30,000 of the man’s money on jewellery, private school fees, accounts he held in India and other things.

Singh’s fraudulent activity was busted when Harrogate Borough Council worker Emma Wood realised something was wrong and called the police.

The accountant denied four counts of fraud by abuse of trust but was convicted of all charges.

Rodney Ferm, defending, said Singh would be stripped of his professional qualification of which he was very proud and would have great difficulty rebuilding his life after prison.

Mr Ferm said Singh had a “lifetime of good behaviour” behind him, including years of voluntarily doing the accounts for his local Sikh temple.

The Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, called Singh a “plausible fraudster” who had duped innocent people into signing and witnessing the false documents he had used to carry out his frauds.

Saying that he had reduced the victim to “living in squalor”, Judge Morris told Singh:

“You should hang your head in shame.”

The judge commended Ms Wood, Mr Sharp, Detective Constable Matthew White and police financial investigator Lyn Brown for their part in bringing Singh to justice.

He said that although Singh had returned the house, worth at least £230,000, to the victim, he had only done so after he realised police were investigating him.

Singh was jailed for five and a half years. He also received a lifelong restraining order, banning him from ever contacting the victim.

After sentencing, retired Detective Constable Ian Sharp said:

“Sukhdev Singh had been an associate of the victim’s deceased parents and had full knowledge of his learning difficulties.

“He is a manipulative fraudster who displayed a callous lack of empathy for his vulnerable victim.”

“He exploited these vulnerabilities for his own advantage in order to systematically asset-strip him.

“Singh has behaved in an arrogant, deceitful way throughout and appears to have no remorse whatsoever for his crimes.

“It was a truly sickening and callous series of frauds committed against someone who should have been able to trust an accountant to act in his best financial interests.”