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“Callous fraudster” from Altrincham jailed after conning elderly woman out of £160,000

A “callous fraudster” from Altrincham has been jailed after conning an elderly woman out of £160,000.

A “callous fraudster” from Altrincham has been jailed after conning an elderly woman out of £160,000.

John Burke, 74, of Teal Close, stole money from the 83-year-old from Warrington over five years, using the cash to buy a Mercedes, a new kitchen and to pay off his debts.

He admitted fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

Greater Manchester Police said Burke had befriended the woman between 2007 and 2012, persuading her to give him cheques on the promise of a good return on her investment.

Burke was eventually arrested in January 2015 after a family solicitor became concerned about a lack of paperwork and interest payments from the victim’s purported investments, and an investigation found he had stolen a total of £160,000 and even prepared a homemade will, appointing himself as sole executor.

John Burke was jailed for 33 months for defrauding an elderly woman of £160,000

By 2015, the woman had been repaid just £25,500 from the accounts held by Burke.

Detective Constable Laura Watson, of GMP’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “Burke targeted a vulnerable woman, gained and then obliterated her trust, by stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from her.

The amount repaid in interest during the offence period by Burke is a fraction of the rate quoted and no capital repayments had been made during this time to her.

“This is a sad case where an elderly woman has lost her savings and has been left extremely upset by what has happened.

“I urge people to be vigilant and only ever use a registered financial advisor, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority when making important investment decisions and together we can stop callous fraudsters like Burke.”