Leeds fraudster fleeced Huddersfield pensioner out of £135,000 in home improvement firm scam

Andrew Rothery.
Andrew Rothery.

A conman fleeced a vulnerable pensioner out of £135,000 by tricking him into believing he was investing in a home improvements firm.

Andrew Rothery, 51, was jailed for three years, ten months, after a judge described the six-year deception as “mean, wicked and despicable” offending.

Leeds Crown Court heard Rothery first preyed upon the 72-year-old victim in 2009 by posing as a director for a home improvements firm.

Rothery, of Town Street, Armley, Leeds, carried out renovation work at the victim’s home in Huddersfield but charged him “over-inflated prices”.

Louise Pryke, prosecuting, said Rothery kept in touch with the victim and offered to make him a partner in his business.

Rothery produced false documentation and contracts to trick the victim into handing over cheques totalling £135,000, between 2010 and 2016.

The prosecutor said the victim eventually became suspicious and asked to see Rothery’s business premises.

Rothery then confessed to the pensioner that he had gambled all the money away.

Police were contacted and Rothery was interviewed by police and initially denied any wrongdoing, blaming the victim for spending the money on gambling.

He later pleaded guilty to fraud.

The court heard Rothery has previous convictions dating back to 1979, for offences of burglary, handling stolen goods and assault.

Peter Byrne, prosecuting, said Rothery had come to court prepared for a prison sentence.

He said his client was suffering from arthritis and had a problem with alcohol.

Mr Byrne said Rothery had taken the money from the victim believing “one big bet” would make him a much larger sum.

Jailing Rothery, judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “Over a period of about six years you fleeced a vulnerable man who was clearly naive.

“Over that period you repeatedly tricked him in to believing that he was investing in a business.

“You produced false contracts and all the time you were simply gambling his money away.

“(The victim) had worked hard all his life. He worked hard in order to get himself a comfortable retirement.

“I have do doubt that this will have had adverse effects, psychologically as well as financially.

“This was a mean, wicked and despicable course of offending.”