Sukhdev Singh: Manipulative and 'arrogant' Leeds fraudster exploited man with learning disabilities out of his home and life-savings

A crooked accountant conned a man with learning difficulties out of his home and life-savings and then spent the money on jewellery, private school tuition fees and gambling.

Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 5:26 pm

Sukhdev Singh, 73, of Chelwood Drive, Moor Allerton, in Leeds, targeted the vulnerable man following the death of his parents.

The man is in his 50s but a psychologist who assessed him confirmed his mental capacity to be that of a 12-year-old.

Singh had learned of the assets left to the victim by his parents and convinced him to let his business, SS Singh & Co, receive and hold his savings.

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Sukhdev Singh, 73, of Moor Allerton in Leeds, targeted and exploited a man with learning disabilities out of his home and savings. He then spent the money he had stolen on private tuition fees, gambling and jewellery. Photo: North Yorkshire Police.

He persuaded his vulnerable victim into signing over his inherited £300,000 family home in an up-market location in Harrogate.

The conman transferred the victim’s house into the ownership of a company owned and controlled by himself; namely SS and SK Lalli Ltd. This meant Singh now owned the house for no payment whatsoever.

The victim continued to live at the Harrogate property, but Singh suggested to the man that he could move from his home address into a flat. Had this happened, Singh would have been free to treat the house as his own.

At a later date, Singh travelled to Gibraltar with the victim where he persuaded him to close his savings account and transfer the balance of more than £34,000 into the UK bank account of SS Singh & Co held by Mr. Singh.

The victim was led to believe that Singh would look after these funds on his behalf.

Singh also tried but failed attempt to have the Title Deeds to the victim’s inherited Spanish holiday home fraudulently transferred to himself.

Fortunately, it failed in the eleventh-hour as officials became suspicious when Singh could not provide proof of payment to the victim.

In the meantime, Singh made attempts to ‘help’ the victim to close his Jersey-based savings account and to transfer the account funds into the business account of SS Singh & Co. The police investigation was able to prevent this from happening.

Singh spent the whole of the £34,000 over the following two weeks on jewellery, gambling transactions, transfers to bank accounts held by Singh in India and other personal domestic spending.

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By 2019, the victim’s Harrogate property had fallen into a significant state of disrepair and he approached the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) for help.

This started a chain of events whereby CAB raised concerns with social services.

Singh had let the home deteriorate so much that environmental health teams were brought in.

They became suspicious of the title transfer of the victim’s Harrogate home, and reported their suspicions to North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit in 2019.

Singh was eventually charged with four counts of fraud, all relating to the one victim.

During his trial, Singh refused to accept any wrongdoing and claimed he had acted entirely in the victim’s interests and had merely followed his instructions.

Singh attempted to portray his victim as a shrewd and articulate man.

However, a jury didn’t believe Singh and found him guilty of all counts on April 13, 2022.

Sukhdev Singh for five years and six months at York Crown Court on Tuesday, May 10.

Detectives who led the investigation said Singh displayed astounding levels of arrogance, remaining unrepentant throughout his trial for what amounted to be a truly sickening and callous series of frauds perpetrated against a vulnerable victim.

Former Detective Constable Ian Sharp, who led the investigation for North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “This was a distressing case to investigate and my thoughts are very much with the victim.

“Sukhdev Singh had been an associate of the victim’s deceased parents, and had full knowledge of his learning difficulties.

"He is a manipulative fraudster who displayed a callous lack of empathy for his vulnerable victim.

"He exploited these vulnerabilities for his own advantage in order to systematically asset-strip him.

“Singh has behaved in an arrogant, deceitful way throughout and appears to have no remorse whatsoever for his crimes.

“It was a truly sickening and callous series of frauds committed against someone who should have been able to trust an accountant to act in his best financial interests.

“Once the case had been brought to the attention of North Yorkshire Police, the force’s Economic Crime Unit was able to safeguard the victim’s remaining assets, and to protect him.

"The fraudulent transfer of the victim’s Harrogate home has been reversed, and we will now pursue a Proceeds of Crime order against this defendant to confiscate his ill-gotten gains and from this compensate the victim for his lost inheritance.

“While this can’t change the facts of the ordeal he suffered at Singh’s hands, I hope it provides him with some comfort and security.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the agencies who played a significant part in bringing Singh to justice and in safeguarding the victim, particularly Harrogate Citizen’s Advice Bureau who first raised the alarm, also North Yorkshire County Council Social Workers and the Environmental Health team.”