Conman who defrauded his Northampton mother of her life savings ordered to pay back £560,000

A fraudster who was jailed for conning his mother of her life savings while she stayed at a Northampton retirement village has been ordered by a judge to pay back more than £560,000.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 9:54 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:02 am
Richard Willis has been ordered to pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds he defrauded from his mother.

Richard Willis, aged 66, was found guilty in 2015 of four counts of fraud by abuse of position and jailed for six years.

The trial heard Willis had positioned himself as the power of attorney to his aging mother Audrey’s accounts and helped himself to more than £600,000 of her money.

Willis, who has since been released on licence, was ordered to appear before Judge Rupert Mayo for a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing at Northampton Crown Court on December 11.

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Richard Willis has been ordered to pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds he defrauded from his mother.

He has now been ordered to re-pay £566, 365 within three months or face a further 40 months in prison.

The court heard how he spent the pilfered savings on shotguns, sports cars like Jaguars, and a £285,000 cottage in his home town of Newport Pagnell.

He claimed two bank transfers of £185,000 and £190,000 were 'gifts' from his mother.

His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo said: “Whenever Willis had access to his mother’s accounts he would go off and buy antiques, guns, cars and, via credit card, very nice food and wines."

At one point, Willis had even claimed that, at the time he was drawing money from his mother’s accounts, he was in possession of £150,000 of (South African) Krugerrands which he later exchanged for UK currency via a Birmingham-based gold bullion dealer.

The judge said: “Willis described himself as having a fascination with gun making and was, I am sure, keen to impress his shooting friends with the correct clothing, 4x4 vehicle and other accoutrements.”

Judge Mayo estimated Willis had benefited to the tune of £713,002 from his criminal conduct and issued a confiscation order for what was believed to be recoverable.

This included £220,000 from hidden assets, £297,143 from the sale of Heron Cottage, £30,000 from guns and £8,500 from motor vehicles.

Speaking afterwards, Northamptonshire Police financial investigator, Sue Lyon, said: “Willis was driven by greed to make money and lead an easy, lavish lifestyle, but this legislation allows us to go after him even when he was released from prison

“POCA legislation is a powerful tool that police can use to claw-back money from criminals and it sends a message to others that a life of crime does not pay.

“This is one of our biggest confiscation orders and, thanks to the investigation, the money recovered will go back to the estate of the late Audrey Willis and then distributed according to the original terms of the will.”