Man who defrauded wheelchair-bound widow jailed for four years

18/09/2017

A man who defrauded at least £15,000 from an elderly wheelchair-bound widow by overcharging her for odd jobs and withdrawing cash without her consent, has been jailed for four years.

John Abrahams, 73, was sentenced on Friday (15 September) at Blackfriars Crown Court.

His victim, who was 89, died in November 2016 before the trial in August 2017 which saw Abrahams found guilty of two counts of fraud.

She had lived alone in Kentish Town after her husband died in 2001 and Abrahams, a family friend, quickly established himself as her helper.

He charged her £60 per hour to do odd jobs such as unpacking her wheelchair from its box, which he claimed took him three hours and washing her hair for another three hours.

One invoice read "9th January: Buy another diary. Buy food waste bags. Buy porridge pots for breakfast. Arrange for shower, hair wash. Pedicure. 7 hours @ £60 = £420."

He also took money from her account without her permission at an average rate of £300 per day, sometimes £700.

Shortly before she died, he had persuaded her to sell her valuable property in Kentish Town and buy a new house in Devon in his name, where he would care for her until she died.

That plan did not go ahead because she became too ill to sign the papers and hand over her house to him.

The fraud came to light in 2015 when she was moved to hospital and her step-son found invoices from Abrahams for work he had purportedly done.

When police searched his home they found £10,000 cash under his bed, which he said she had loaned to him and that he was going to return to her.

However, the jury was able to hear from his victim in a video recorded interview taken by the police shortly before she died, that she had not loaned him money, nor had she consented to pay him £60 per hour for helping her.

Claire Holder, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "John Abrahams abused the trust of his friend, a vulnerable widow.

"We will never know how many thousands of pounds he extracted from her account over a period of three years, but the figure was substantial.

"His victim was a professional person and a widow who had accumulated substantial savings made up of her and her husband's money.

"The Crown Prosecution Service is committed to seeking justice for elderly, vulnerable victims who are financially and systematically abused by people they trust.

"We will now begin the process of recovering as much of her money as possible from assets seized from Abrahams."

Notes:

John Abrahams [02/12/1943] of Village Road, Enfield, was found guilty of two counts of fraud.