A Luton man who defrauded two people out of their inheritances has been jailed.
Mark Bonner, 53, of Hibbert Street, Luton, was found guilty of two counts of fraud following a trial at Wood Green Crown Court.
He was sentenced to five and a half years’ imprisonment for defrauding one victim out of around £298,000 and two years’ imprisonment for defrauding a second victim out of around £60,000 - both sentences will run concurrently, on Friday.
The court heard how Bonner defrauded his first victim while he was running a will writing service called MBT Will Writing and Legal Services.
In 2010, the woman - aged in her 60s - had entrusted Bonner to assist with the administration of her late partner’s estate which included the sale of a residential property in Enfield for around £102,000.
Once this sale had gone through, Bonner had the money paid directly into his account and did not pass any of this on to the victim. Bonner then went on to spend the vast majority of the cash, eventually handing over only £40,000 to the woman.
The woman and other members of her family continued to pursue Bonner for the remainder of the money but he continually fobbed them off with excuses.
In 2012 Bonner ceased contact with the victim.
The incident was subsequently reported to police in 2012 when a relative of the woman became aware of the situation.
Officers began to investigate the claims and managed to uncover that the £40,000 that Bonner had paid to the woman had actually come from a second victim who had been defrauded in similar circumstances.
In that instance, Bonner had agreed to sell a residential property in Stoke Newington for £204,000 but once more had failed to pass on the proceeds along with other monies due - these totaled £298,000.
The victim, a man aged in his 70s, was contacted by police and confirmed he had been the victim of a fraud.
Bonner was charged with two counts of fraud in September 2016.
Detective Constable Ari Yoganathan of the Specialist Crime and Operations Directorate led the investigation.
He said: “Bonner preyed on vulnerable victims and defrauded them of significant sums of money while they were still in the process of grieving for their loved ones.
“This was despicable behaviour and I am glad that the jury has convicted Bonner and he will now spend a significant period of time behind bars.
“Our investigation indicates Bonner targeted other people and I would urge anyone who may have been defrauded by him to contact police.
“I would also like to thank DC Viv Ellis and her colleagues from the Met’s Criminal Finance Team who provided expert support throughout this investigation.”
Anyone who has been a victim of Mark Bonner can call police via 101.