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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

Windermere conman may sell house to pay back £100k

A CROOKED accountant who duped a Windermere woman out of £100,000 could be made to sell his house to pay her back.

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HOLIDAY HOME: Timbertop House at Brantfell Road, Windermere JON GRANGER REF: 50009204B000

John Michael Prescott, 61, was jailed for four years in June after admitting defrauding Jane Moore by persuading her to give him the money to put in a non existent high-interest stock exchange investment on her behalf.

Prescott, of Manor House Drive, Skelmersdale, Lancashire, also pleaded guilty to stealing £120,000 from another former client in Lancashire.

He was back at Carlisle Crown Court on Thursday to hear a judge order that he should now face proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the law designed to stop criminals benefiting from their crimes.

The court heard that Prescott could be made to sell one or both of his two properties – the house in Lancashire or a holiday home called Timbertop in Brantfell Road, Bowness – unless he could prove he no longer had any financial interest in them.

He was advised to make sure his wife and daughter would be able to give evidence on his behalf if he was to claim that the properties were theirs, not his.

The case will be heard over two days in December on a date yet to be set.

Prescott, who recently sacked his legal team after “losing confidence” in them, was told by the judge that the hearing would go ahead even if he had not by then found anyone else to represent him.

In June, the court heard that Prescott had “treated Mrs Moore’s money as his own”.

Mrs Moore – a successful South Lakeland businesswoman – was befriended by Prescott on the occasions he came to live in the house next door to hers in Brantfell Road, Bowness.

She did not know that, as an undischarged bankrupt, he had been thrown out of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and was not licensed to give financial advice, the prosecution said.

She took him on as bookkeeper for her business, Quarry Rigg Properties, and eventually caved in to his persuasion and allowed him more influence over her general business, the prosecution said.

In March last year, Mrs Moore agreed to invest £100,000 through Prescott in bank shares on the stock market.

But within a few days Mrs Moore lost faith in him and asked for her money back, not knowing he had already spent it to buy a share of a business in Morecambe.

Mrs Moore eventually called the police, leading to Prescott’s arrest.

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