A bloke who helped himself to more than £60,000 of his friend’s savings after he had passed away has been jailed after the dead man’s sister turned up to claim the money.
Dean Thompson "unofficially cared" for neighbour David Traylen until he died at the age of 78 and he began to use his dead friend’s bank cards to withdraw cash for himself.
Soon after he passed away, Thompson called Mr Traylen's bank, pretending to be the pensioner, and transferred £25,000 to himself.
Two years later, he transferred another £30,000 worth of uncashed bonds to himself.
Thompson, 54, of De La Pole Avenue, Hull, admitted five counts of fraud by false representation and one count of theft at Hull Crown Court.
Ben Hammersley, prosecuting, told the court Thompson had been unofficially caring for his 78-year-old neighbour, David Traylen, for almost 20 years.
The court heard Mr Traylen did not have any known relatives or beneficiaries to his estate when he died on October 2, 2017.
Thompson registered David's death with Hull City Council but then called up First Direct bank impersonating Mr Traylen and asking for the £28,000 in his savings account to be transferred into his current account.
Posing as Mr Traylen, reports Hull Live, the lorry driver told the bank he was "very ill and wanted to sort out his funds". He then wrote himself a cheque for £25,000.
Over the next two years, the court heard, Thompson used the money for his family's day-to-day expenditure. He continued to withdraw a further £6,367 using Mr Traylen's debit card.
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In October 2019, again posing as his dead neighbour, Thompson accessed a further £30,000 of uncashed bonds and transferred them into his own account.
On November 11, 2019, Mr Traylen's sister, who lived in New Zealand, came forward to claim his estate. She appointed a solicitor in the UK to liquidate the property, unearthing Thompson's fraud.
A total of £61,356.25 was taken from Mr Traylen's accounts.
In a police interview, Thompson claimed the money had been a gift from Mr Traylen, but later fully admitted to the offences.
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Charlotte Baines, mitigating, said Thompson has had no previous convictions in his 54 years.
She added: "He knows what he did was despicable and utterly regrets his actions.
"His intentions were good, he supported David Traylen when he was alive, David had no one to care for him when he was alive. The defendant had meaningful intentions.
"Thompson is someone with a strong work ethic, working for most of his adult life, he had a secure job at Stagecoach Transport. He has been trying to put together the funds to pay back what he took, he wants to put it right."
Judge Peter Kelson QC told Dean Thompson: "I accept that you did previously support the victim before his demise.
"Your described yourself as his unofficial carer, that is an underestimation of the support you provided him. However, after his death, you immediately transferred money to yourself by deceiving his bank.
"The aggravating features of this case are the abuse of trust and sophisticated nature of the offence in that it took significant planning. This surpasses the threshold for immediate custody."
Judge Kelson sentenced Dean Thompson to two years in prison.
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