A major scam
A fake financial adviser in the UK who scammed almost £900,000 ($1.1m) from seven vulnerable people has been sentenced to five years and three months in prison. Peter Holbrook targeted recently bereaved or elderly people, offering to take care of probate matters and write wills despite not having any qualifications to do so.
The 75-year-old admitted to seven separate counts of fraud, explaining that he used the money to feed his gambling addiction.
One particular victim lost nearly £390,000 ($488,933)
The Bradford Crown Court heard how the defendant stole £849,839 ($1m) from the seven victims between January 2011 and March 2021. One particular victim lost nearly £390,000 ($488,933).
As well as gambling with much of the money, Holbrook also used some of the funds to pay for vacations and to send some repayments to victims when they began to ask questions. The judge said that Holbrook had shown little empathy to his victims and only thought about himself.
Attempts to avoid charges
Judge Richard Thyne summarised Holbrook’s interviews for the court, in which he told police he was a rich, professional gambler who liked helping people. In an attempt to sidestep the allegations, the offender labeled the children of one of his victims “spiteful and two-faced.”
eventually confessed to his crimes during his third interview
Holbrook initially claimed he was innocent, alleging that his daughter’s death led to a delay in processing a money transfer to the family of one of the victims. In fact, the court heard that Holbrook’s daughter is still alive and living in the UK. He eventually confessed to his crimes during his third interview, as reported by the BBC.
The judge highlighted that Holbrook duped people out of their financial security during moments of vulnerability. He said that Holbrook took away “money that parents had saved to give to their children upon their death; plans for retirement were overturned; and homes were sold to pay for the cost of care that should have come from people’s savings.”
A lasting impact
Holbrook – who has no previous criminal convictions – said he is “disgusted” by his actions. Some of the victims blamed themselves for falling for the trick and confirmed that the matter had resulted in issues with family members.
The son of a woman who lost nearly £380,000 ($476,396) to Holbrook spoke outside the court. He said his mother passed away in January and she was of the belief that the money she had invested would be given to her kids in the future. The man warned people to be careful about who they trust with their money and welcomed the court decision to jail Holbrook.