Darren Aston jailed for five years for defrauding elderly couple

21/02/2013

A man who financially exploited two frail pensioners and stole over £260,000 of their life savings, leaving them virtually penniless, has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Birmingham Crown Court today after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud. Two further counts of theft will lie on file.

Darren Aston, aged 42, stole £264,173 over a three year period from the couple and spent the money on supporting his estate agent business as well as paying legal costs relating to a boundary dispute with his neighbour.

Rukshsana Mohammed, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: 

"Today's conviction is important in showing that the CPS takes the criminal mistreatment of older people seriously.

"In 2006, Darren Aston befriended the couple and he would visit them when they were unwell and do errands for them. Once he had gained their trust, he began to ask money off the couple to help with his financial problems, but a year later, things turned more serious when he asked for and obtained a Power of Attorney for the couple to manage their affairs. More importantly for him, this also provided him access to their money.

"Although he paid their household bills, he began to siphon off large amount of funds which he later used to prop up his ailing business and pay his legal bills for a boundary dispute with a neighbour.

"Aston exploited his position of trust for his own personal gain. He cashed the couple's premium bonds and other investments plans. It was only in 2011 when a social worker at a hospital raised some concerns of his involvement in the couple's finances was the fraud uncovered, however, by then he had drained the couples account of most of their life's savings.

"Living free from crime is a basic human right and today I urge any older people suffering criminal mistreatment to be confident that the CPS understands the serious nature of these crimes, and to report them to police.

"Targeting someone because they are older makes a crime even more serious, so it is important that together we bring these people to justice - whether they be strangers, carers or family members."