An estate agent who has pleaded guilty to 13 counts of fraud involving around £450,000 has been warned he is likely to face a prison sentence.
Last summer we started reporting that Donald George Scott - who ran the Wigton-based Donald Scott Land and Estate Agents business - was accused of forging the signatures of clients in a bid to sell legal covenants to farmland, which entitled the owner to EU subsidies.
He also fraudulently obtained money from other customers who wrongly believed they were buying subsidy rights.
Now the Cumbria News and Star reports that Scott, who is currently on bail, has been told by a judge at Carlisle Crown Court: “The fact that I am granting you bail can not be taken to mean that there won’t be a custodial sentence. This is an extremely large sum of money. You must expect that it is possible that you will go to custody.”
The newspaper reports that all of Scott's victims were elderly farmers or landowners described as “loyal customers”. One of them, believed to have lost some £80,000 in the swindle, has since died.
All the offences committed were between 2010 and 2015 and it is reported that as Scott was declared bankrupt a year ago it is unlikely that the victims will be fully compensated.
Scott will be sentenced on April 22 after background reports have been prepared on him by the Probation Service.