Man behind bars for £140k fraud

Court snatch of Andrew Pitt outside Dewsbury Magistrates' Court. (d13091142)
Court snatch of Andrew Pitt outside Dewsbury Magistrates' Court. (d13091142)

A FRAUDSTER who obtained around £140,000 from loans, credit cards and by stealing from his own family has been jailed.

Andrew Pitt used the names of his mother, father, sister and 89-year-old grandmother to get loans and credit cards to satisfy his gambling addiction over a 13-month period.

One of the loans, for £51,678, was an unsecured loan taken out against his parents’ home in Moat Hill, Birstall, for which he tricked his sister into co-signing.

Leeds Crown Court heard Pitt, who was living with his parents at the time but later moved to Bankfield in Manchester, fraudulently took out a total of six loans and three cards using the names of family members.

He also stole money, a total of £14,308, from the bank accounts of his mother, Imelda Pitt, and grandmother, Frances Flanagan, which he set up for them on his computer.

The court heard the money stolen from Mrs Flanagan was largely her life savings.

Prosecuting on Friday, Richard Davies said the total amount Pitt took out wasn’t calculated, though it was thought to be as much as £140,000. He said the total loss to credit companies was £105,535.

Mr Davies said Pitt, 32, tricked his sister Rachel into pretending to be her mother and agreeing for a loan against their house from the loan company Blemain. Pitt told her their parents were having trouble with a time share property and needed help sorting it out.

The court heard Miss Pitt had received a caution for her part in the fraud.

Mr Davies said Pitt had a previous conviction in 1998 for using credit cards belonging to his mother.

Pitt pleaded guilty to nine counts of fraud and two counts of theft during an earlier hearing at the court.

Mitigating, Richard Reed said Pitt knew he had done wrong, and must be punished.

In an email to his mother, Pitt said: “I don’t need people to tell me how vile and disgusting I am, I already know this.”

Mr Reed said Pitt suffered a debilitating disease called acromegaly, a condition where the body creates too much growth hormone.

The symptoms include poor memory, joint pains, fatigue, recurrent infections, insomnia and shooting pains in the arms comparable to carpal tunnel syndrome.

He said people with acromegaly were prone to compulsive and repetitive behaviour, such as gambling.

Mr Reed said Pitt used online gambling to distract himself from his pain.

He said custody would be ‘an horrific ordeal’ as he wouldn’t have unsupervised access to his self-injected medication.

“His time in prison will be worse than most,” he added.

Sentencing Judge Penelope Belcher said: “Your family speaks of the enormous stress these matters have caused, which is unsurprising.”

Judge Belcher sentenced Pitt to 20 months in prison for the fraud, and 12 months in prison for the theft, to run concurrently.