Harpenden man denies defrauding mum out of thousands of pounds

PUBLISHED: 16:00 05 August 2016

The case will now go to St Albans Crown Court

The case will now go to St Albans Crown Court

Archant

A 52-year-old man will face trial at St Albans Crown Court after denying eight offences, including defrauding his “vulnerable” mother of thousands of pounds.

Ian Leonard, of Lilac Way, Harpenden, appeared at St Albans Magistrates’ Court last Friday (29), where he pleaded not guilty to four charges of fraud by false representation.

They included a charge that between September 5, 2012, and August 19, 2015, he allegedly dishonestly withdrew £5,099 in the name of Ada Leonard, intending to cause loss to or expose her to a risk of loss.

It was also alleged that on or before May 17, 2013, in Harpenden, Mr Leonard committed fraud when he said he was lawfully entitled to receive the sum of £261,110.80, being the proceeds of the sale of 16 Necton Road, Wheathampstead.

He denied a further four charges in relation to criminal property - two of transferring; one of converting and one of possessing - totalling £264,495.75.

The allegations included transferring £29,997 between October 24 and November 11 in 2013, converting £177,808 between June 14 and 28 in 2013, transferring £39,197.69 on September 9, 2013, and possessing £17,493.06 between October 10, 2013, and November 1 in 2015.

The magistrates’ court was told by the prosecutor that because Mr Leonard had pleaded not guilty to all the charges and they were related to alleged fraud, including of “the defendant’s mother, who is vulnerable and suffers from dementia” that a trial should proceed at St Albans Crown Court.

The prosecutor added that the case should transfer to that court because it involved a sum of over £260,000, and there was alleged abuse of position of trust involving Mr Leonard’s mother, and “spending money from assets without permission”.

However, his counsel asked on his behalf whether this could be adjourned for a few weeks, “because he needs to sell the property he is at to fund the legal fees”.

But the court clerk told Mr Leonard that those appearing at the Crown Court were not able to choose a time that suited them.

He was granted unconditional bail.

A preliminary plea and case management hearing will be held at the Crown Court on August 26.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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