A Yorkshire-based fraudster has been jailed for more than six years after defrauding potential property investors of over £500,000.
Married father of three, John Keats-Ormandy, of Main Street, Sutton-on-the-Forest, York, has been locked up after admitting charges of fraud involving eight would-be investors who believed their money would be used to renovate homes empty properties before they were rented out.
Solicitor Andrew Epsley told Bradford Crown Court today how the 42-year-old claimed he had contracts with the Ministry of Justice to house people and rental income from investments was guaranteed. But the court heard how investors lost savings and pension funds because Keats-Ormandy had no legal interest in the properties he advertised for sale.
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When a concerned investor visited one of the houses in Liverpool, he discovered that a couple had already bought the house and were living there. Mr Epsley said Keats-Ormandy had taken money from people who never intended to meet their end of the bargain.
In total, Keats-Ormandy, who had no previous convictions, allegedly defrauded investors out of £592,000, with only around £100,000 returned to his victims despite their efforts to recover their money.
Even when he pleaded guilty to a series of fraud charges in April, Keats-Ormandy argued through this lawyer that he would be able to repay a large sum in six weeks, but today , he had no more money to hand over.
Potential customers received a professional-looking “Welcome Pack”, which included a notepad, business card and pen, and Keats-Ormandy also used endorsements from organizations such as the Department of Justice to give credibility to his scam.
The court heard an investor lost more than £200,000 and victims included a carer, overseas restaurateur and driving instructor. Recorder Alex Menary heard a series of victim impact statements in which the complainants described sleepless nights and stress suffered as a result of the Keats-Ormandy offence.
“Words cannot begin to describe the sheer nightmare we went through,” said one man, who ended up in hospital. “He destroyed my trust in people.”
Another victim, who is undergoing cancer treatment, said he was ashamed of being cared for by Keats-Ormandy, adding: “He must have known he was cheating on me and others, and he always drove people around and tried to get more money from people. . I will have to keep working longer, if I survive cancer.”
Another said he handed over his savings and received nothing in return.
Lawyer Andrew Hill, for Keats-Ormandy, argued that his client’s role was to bring sellers and buyers together and that he had “balanced the plates”, but that he had become more involved. more deeply.
“It didn’t start with his intention to defraud individuals out of their money, but it very quickly grew that way,” Hill conceded.
Jailing Keats-Ormandy for six years and three months, Recorder Menary said he had taken people’s money to invest in properties he had no interest in and had been dishonest throughout. He said the total amount of £592,000 only told part of the story and that people had been hospitalized and lost their savings.
He said Keats-Ormandy ‘robbed Peter to pay Paul’ and his fraud had a serious detrimental effect on his victims.
Keats-Ormandy will serve half his prison sentence and will also face a rehearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act later this year.