A Huddersfield pensioner has told how a gambling addict defrauded him of more than £100,000.
Dennis Riddle, 72, who worked in Kirklees Council’s finance department for 39 years, was tricked by Andrew Rothery into investing £135,000 of his retirement fund into a business scam.
The pair had met in 2009 when Rothery was pretending to be the director of a home improvements company and carried out work in Mr Riddle’s home in Bradley, charging an inflated price.
They continued their relationship and the defendant invited the victim to invest in his business.
Over the course of six years, Mr Riddle, who was described in court as being “extremely naive” with no family and few friends, sent him cheques.
But in August 2015, the 51-year-old admitted he had gambled all the money away.
Today (Wednesday) Mr Riddle spoke to the Examiner at his home in Bradley and told how he thought Rothery was “a rotten sod”.
He said: “I had no reason to suspect him in the early years. He came over as very friendly, obviously he was too friendly. I have had to remortgage my house because of this.
“And I had to stop going away on holidays with a lady-friend as a result of his dishonesty. He seemed such a genuine guy. I let him have a key to the house while he was doing work here.”
Asked how the scam began he said the defendant had flattered him into investing into the non-existent scheme by telling him he had “picked him out as a man to go into partnership with. I was sucked up in it. I took everything at face value.”
Leeds Crown Court heard Rothery, who has 34 previous convictions for 91 offences including theft, handling stolen goods, burglary and motoring offences, blamed the gambling on his victim.
The offending took place between March 2010 and August 2016.
Rothery, who lives in a council house in Town Street, Armley, Leeds and has been drinking two litres of cider per day for two years, had pleaded guilty to one count of fraud at a hearing in November.
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: “Over a period of six years you fleeced a vulnerable man who was clearly naive of £135,000.
“It began shortly after you had met him in 2009. Over that period, you repeatedly tricked him into believing he was investing in a business. You produced false documents.
“All the time, you were gambling his money away.”
Sentencing him to three years and 10 months’ imprisonment, of which he must serve at least half, the judge said: “This was a mean, wicked and despicable course of offending.”