Septuagenarian swindler jailed for frauds

PUBLISHED: 11:34 03 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:34 03 April 2013

A pensioner has been given six years in prison for a series of complex frauds which included writing cheques under a false name for clothes at a Budleigh shop.

Brian Kiddell, 75, of Topsham Road, Exeter, used a number of false identities for his crimes.

Kiddell, who has been jailed twice before for sophisticated swindles, was caught by police trying to commit fraud in Launceston, and also committed frauds in Newton Abbot, Exeter, and two towns in Essex.

The Budleigh fraud involved Kiddell buying expensive clothes at a shop, using cheques in the name of Paul Stevenson that were worthless.

Mr Stevenson died in 2004, but Kiddell had obtained his passport, which he used in his largest fraud, renting a home in Newton Abbot.

He then posed as owner David Ayton, put the house up for sale on the internet, and sold it for £90,000, netting £83,647.40 after paying fees.

The real owner had no idea what was going on until it was too late. By then it was owned by a property company in London and was already back on the market.

At a hearing at Exeter Crown Court, Kiddell admitted nine charges of fraud, theft, and the dishonest use of a dead man’s passport.

Mr Gareth Evans, prosecuting, said Kiddell was involved with six different swindles, all involving the use of false names.

Kiddell was jailed for a total of six years by Judge Francis Gilbert QC, who told him: “You are no stranger to fraud. You are a persistent fraudster who thrives on dishonesty as a method of behaviour.

“You played a key role in these frauds, and there were many. There were others involved, but you knew full well what was going on. You were well aware of what you were doing and used a number of aliases and a number of addresses.”

Mr Stephen Mejzner, defending, said Kiddell was forced to take part in the frauds by an organised crime gang to whom he owed money.

He said Kiddell was an ex-serviceman who had run successful businesses as a gentleman’s outfitter and squash centre owner before his marriage had broken up and his business failed in the 1990s.

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