A BARNSLEY man who ‘hoodwinked’ those closest to him into believing he was a successful investment banker then fleeced his elderly grandmother out of her life savings to fund lavish holidays and expensive cars has been jailed for four years.
Christopher Moulson, of Wakefield Road, appeared at Leeds Crown Court for sentencing on Wednesday, having changed his plea to guilty on the first day of his trial.
The 32-year-old initially denied three offences of theft, relating to his grandmother Gwenda Day and two of his closest friends, Henry Bower and Chris Matthewman.
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC was told that Moulson claimed he was employed as an investment banker specialising in wealth management for Morgan Stanley, but was actually unemployed having left his job as a customer service assistant with NatWest.
Moulson, originally from Penistone, stole £60,371 from his widowed grandmother who was left struggling to pay for food and in debt because of his actions as well as £10,000 each from Mr Bower and Mr Matthewman, who were told that he could use his influence to make their plans to create a civil engineering firm a reality.
Prosecutor Richard Davies said: “Gwenda, like all of his family including his wife, believed he worked for Morgan Stanley.
“He transferred her life savings to his own account, using it to fund holidays and the leasing of cars such as a BMW and a Mercedes.
“His two other victims, who were his oldest friends from school, also fell for the facade.
“The defendant told them that if they invested £10,000 each, he would put in £100,000 of his own money which he said had come from a £500,000 bonus from Morgan Stanley.”
This cash injection, he told them, would be doubled to provide a total of £240,000 through a business loan, allowing them to pursue the business idea.
“His friends who said they trusted him implicitly borrowed cash from grandparents and parents, but they received a fake letter purporting to be from Morgan Stanley offering them much less than he promised them.
“They wanted to pull out of the deal, but were fobbed off by the defendant who told them he had cancer.”
When the police arrested Moulson on November 28, 2016, they received confirmation that he had never been employed by Morgan Stanley and he refused to provide medical records which would have confirmed his illness.
Both Mr Bower and Mr Matthewman recovered their money at an earlier court hearing, while another will be held in Leeds on April 21 in relation to recouping what his 78-year-old grandmother is owed under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
A victim impact statement, from Gwenda, said: “I couldn’t afford to buy food - I’ve questioned my own sanity and I’m embarrassed and reclusive, having once led an active social life.
“I was comfortable but I’m now in considerable debt. I’ve been badly let down and he (Moulson) has abused my trust.”
Before sentencing, Judge Marson was told that Moulson had graduated from university but was not happy with ‘only being in customer services’ as he deemed it an ‘unimportant role’.
Judge Marson said: “I can’t envisage a worse case as you’ve been cruel and dishonest to not only your friends but your grandmother, someone who you should have loved and respected.
“She was left comfortable, left to enjoy the rest of her life without any financial worries. You stole this from her, your own grandmother.
“Your crimes were sophisticated and planned, dishonest from the start, weaving a web of lies. It’s uncommon, even in these courts, to hear this level of deceit.
“You had a devastating, profound effect and I believe that the guilt you claim you now feel is because of the predicament you’re in.”