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Four people who stole more than £145,000 from a vulnerable relative have been sentenced.
Scott Billington, Janet Billington, Keith Billington and Vicky Bailey all appeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday 11 March where they were sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison.
Scott, age 30, and 60-year Janet had previously been found guilty of fraud by abuse of position and possession of criminal property following an six day trial at Chester Crown Court.
Their co-defendants, 34-year-old Bailey and 64-year-old Keith were both convicted of possession of criminal property at the same hearing.
They were handed the following sentences -
During the trial, the jury heard that the victim was a vulnerable man with learning difficulties who lived near Tarporley
Due to his vulnerabilities, his father had previously managed the man’s finances until he sadly passed away in August 2015.
The victim’s mother initially took over, but due to her own deteriorating mental health, Janet, Scott and Keith offered to help in September 2016.
The trio then unwittingly made victim sign a Lasting Power of Attorney Order which gave them control of all his money.
Within months of signing the order, a number fraudulent transactions began to take place and large amounts of cash were removed from the victim’s accounts.
The offences escalated in May 2017 when Scott and Vicky moved in with the victim after his mum was taken into care.
The fraud continued until November 2018, by which point all of the victim’s cash had been removed from his accounts.
However it was not until July 2019, that the offences came to light when Social Services, along with another family member, took over the care of the victim and realised that all his money was missing.
The incident was reported to Cheshire Constabulary who launched an investigation.
During their enquiries officers discovered approximately 360 fraudulent transactions, which resulted in the victim being defrauded out of more than £145,000.
The main perpetrator in the case was Scott, who took over £113,000 from the victims accounts.
His parents, Janet and Keith also defrauded the victim out of more than £22,000.
In addition, Scott’s partner, Vicky, was found to have received at least £10,000 of the cash which had been taken from the victim.
Following the sentencing Detective Constable Neil Wharmby, who led the investigation, said: “This has been an extremely complex investigation and I welcome the sentences that have been handed to the defendants.
“Scott, Janet, Keith and Vicky we’re well aware that the victim was vulnerable, but rather than provide him with the help and support he needed, they chose to exploit him in order to fund their lavish lifestyles.
“Between them they stole more than £145,000 from the victim, much of which was spent on extravagant holidays, weekends away, festivals and nights out.
“Scott also gave a considerable amount of the money to his friends – including at least £10,000 which was given to Vicky, who was well aware of where the cash had come from.
“The actions taken by all four defendants was absolutely sickening, and the fact that they made the victim’s family endure a trial only exacerbated what they had done.
“Thankfully, all four defendants were found guilty and I hope that the sentencing will provide some reassurance to the victim and his family.
“As this case demonstrates, we treat all allegations of fraud seriously and I encourage anyone who believes that they, or someone that they know, has been a victim to report it.
“You will be listened to and we will do all that we can to ensure that the people responsible are held accountable for their actions.”