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Men jailed for 'ruthless' con trick; CARDIFF.

TWO con men were behind bars yesterday for devising and implementing a "ruthless scheme" to evict a 60-year-old man from his house and steal his pounds 136,000 life savings.

Robert Whaley, 49, forged letters from the council threatening Keith Williams with eviction from his house in Penarth.

Whaley sent a letter in November 2000 then six months later told Mr Williams his house had been transferred to a new owner.

As a result of the letters Mr Williams believed he had been evicted and left his house to live in a nearby flat. With Mr Williams out of the home, Whaley boarded up the house and fitted a temporary letter box to intercept his mail.

Whaley then enlisted the help of Roger Tenant, 43, in a high-tech scam to steal Mr Williams's savings.

Prosecutor Greg Bull told Cardiff Crown Court, "It was a ruthless scheme. Whaley set up a number of bank accounts using information from Mr Williams's mail.

"He made a request for internet banking so no face-to-face transactions were required."

The court heard that Mr Williams rarely used his cash card and it was only by chance that he realised huge sums were leaving his account.

A Lloyds Bank employee traced the funds to an off-shore account in Guernsey created by Whaley.

Christopher Rees, defending Whaley, said his client had fallen victim to temptation after being declared bankrupt. He said Whaley understood that what he had done was "despicable", but told the court all but pounds 20,000 of the money had been repaid.

Whaley, of Penarth, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to a total of 25 offences of obtaining services by deception, theft and obtaining money transfer by deception.

Judge Christopher Llewellyn-Jones QC jailed Whaley for three years and nine months for what he said was a "thoroughly dishonest enterprise."

He added that the scam had the "hallmark of sophistication" but was concerned at how easy it was for Whaley to set up internet accounts.

Tenant, of Miami, admitted one charge of money laundering and was jailed for two years and three months.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 17, 2002
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