Former agent goes to jail for ten years
Wednesday 5th November 2008
A former estate agent, Mark Howe, has been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to ten years in prison after being convicted of 13 thefts and five other charges.
Howe, who once ran several businesses including Beach and Howe Estate Agents and was also a financial adviser, is thought to have stolen more than £1m from elderly and vulnerable people in Yorkshire.
He tricked them out of their life savings to fund his own lavish lifestyle, which included expensive cars, gambling and holidays in Spain.
His victims included his former mother-in-law, a woman with cancer and a man with lung disease. He also used an elderly couple’s details to get a mortgage with Northern Rock on their home, without their knowledge.
Prosecutors will attempt to get the money back at a confiscation hearing in court next year but police have warned this may prove impossible as Howe has refused to say where the money is.
Judge Paul Hoffman told Howe he had blighted lives and said: “In over 40 years, I’ve come across many ruthless fraudsters, but few could have measured up to you in terms of sheer criminality present, breach of trust, ruthlessness, harm done and total lack of remorse.
“You have inflicted on your victims not only huge financial damage but huge emotional damage. You have made some of them ill.
“Many of them will never recover from the financial damage and trauma you have caused them.”
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