Accountant Sukhdev Singh guilty of £300,000 fraud on mentally disabled man
AN ACCOUNTANT who committed an international fraud of over £300,000 against a North Yorkshire man with a learning disability is behind bars today.
The victim told a York jury he thought Sukhdev Singh, 74, was helping him sort out his financial affairs.
Angus MacDonald, prosecuting, said that in reality the accountant was “manipulating him ruthlessly”.
The lawyer told Singh: “Over the years you have cynically stripped him of everything he had.”
“I didn’t do this to anyone, I didn’t do this to him,” Singh replied.
The jury found him guilty of four counts of fraud by abuse of position.
The victim, who testified, suffered from brain damage from birth, suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, and his mental abilities were in the bottom 6% of the population, the jury heard. His parents had died and he was left with properties in two countries and two bank accounts outside the UK.
At the time police became involved, Singh had taken pennyless possession of the victim’s mortgage-free home in Harrogate worth £230,000 to £275,000 and was charging her rent to live there, it was heard the jury.
Singh claimed in evidence that it was the victim’s responsibility to meet the £27,000 improvements bill ordered by Harrogate City Council under an official improvement notice.
The jury heard the accountant also transferred the £34,000 from the North Yorkshire man’s Gibraltar account to his own account and, within three weeks, spent it on gambling, Premium Bonds and gifts to members of his family.
He stated in evidence that it was his money because it was in his account but he had to account for it to the victim.
The jury heard that Singh tried to take the victim’s Spanish apartment but a Spanish notary refused to do the necessary paperwork.
He had also been prevented from emptying the victim’s £5,000 Jersey account because the bank had had concerns.
Following the verdicts following an eight-day trial, his lawyer Rodney Fern requested bail so Singh could prepare his family for the “inevitable custodial sentence”.
But the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, refused and took Singh into custody until May 11.
“Having heard him testify…I just don’t trust him,” he said.
Singh, of Chelwood Drive, Leeds, had denied all four charges.
Testifying, he claimed he treated the victim as “part of the family” and only did what he was asked to do.
“He (the victim) is a very authoritative man, he is very intelligent,” he said.
He denied acting as the victim’s accountant.
But the jury saw letters with Singh’s company letterhead describing the victim as his client.
And he claimed in evidence that the victim owed him more than £24,000 in accountant fees.