A widower was duped out of £87,000 by a serial fraudster who sold him non-existent goods including an Aston Martin car, designer jewellery and a digger.
Brendan Flannagan, 62, pretended to be in charge of a liquidation company which meant that he could sell on items reclaimed from failed businesses at cheap prices.
He purchased a MacBook Pro and Dyson hairdryer at full price which he used as bait to convince his elderly victim that his promises were legitimate, Lancs Live reports.
Over the course of three months, the granddad transferred over £87,000 to Flannagan which was either spent or gambled away.
The heartbroken victim had received the money through a life insurance payment following the death of his wife and had hoped to invest it for the benefit of his children and grandchildren.
The court heard that he remains too embarrassed to tell his family about what happened.
Prosecuting, Claire Larton told Preston Crown Court there was some dispute over where they first met, with the victim stating they first met in 2019 when he was selling his house.
This initial meeting is denied by Flannagan but he agrees there was a chance meeting two years later where the crook lied that he was involved in a liquidation business.
He convinced the man enough for him to order a Dyson hairdryer and two MacBook Pros – one for him and one for his son.
For this, the man paid £220 cash and all and the hairdryer and one of the MacBooks were handed over after Flannagan paid full price for them.
This earned the victim’s trust and led to placement of future orders.
Ms Larton said: “Over the following three months between April and July, the victim was offered a number of further items for sale.
“He continued to tell the victim he was from that liquidation company and the stock was discounted as a result of companies going out of business.”
She said these items included “vehicles, designer watches, a campervan and even a digger”, with brands such as Gucci and Aston Martin supposedly purchased.
Delays were attributed to the protracted nature of liquidation and the need for everything to be formally signed off.
Ms Larton said the pair also exchanged thousands of text messages, with the victim raising concerns about the delays and questioning the legitimacy of Flannagan. Each time, he would reassure the victim.
She said the money was either withdrawn as cash, spent online at the likes of Argos, Boots, Dunelm Mill and Sainsbury’s or used for gambling.
Flannagan now has no assets and there are therefore currently no plans to pursue Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings in a bid to retrieve money from him.
The victim did not provide an impact statement but had earlier explained the con had left him in poor health through stress, anxiety and depression and with blood pressure that was “through the roof”.
He said he now suffers from panic attacks and struggles when alone, particular during nights.
Ms Larton said that Flannagan admitted the con when interviewed by police and claimed he had been in debt for 40 years and needed to deal with that.
He told the author of a pre-sentencing report that he was being pursued by loan sharks but this was rubbished by Judge Graham Knowles QC, who told him: “I don’t believe a word of it. The only predator in this case is you.”
The court heard that Flannagan has convictions for 58 offences dating back to 1986, which around 51 of those relating to fraud and the other seven to theft or dishonesty.
Ms Larton said he had spent much of the last 20 years moving in and out of prison.
Sentencing, Judge Knowles said the Flannagan was someone for whom prison was an occupational hazard. He said: “You have no remorse in any sense that can reduce the sentence.
“The effect on the victim was so serious he’s not been able to tell his own family, his blood pressure is high, he suffers panic attacks.”
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