Thursday, 18 March 2010

Estate agent jailed over my Mum's life savings

This is Cardiff estate agent Sean White, as he would like his friends to see him, on a popular social networking site.

Facebook may be the only way his friends can see him in the near future, as he is now beginning a short term in what he would doubtless describe as a deceptively spacious prison cell.

White, of 18, Glenroy Street, Roath, Cardiff, is paying the penalty for laundering £115,000 from an old lady's life savings. His victim was Anne Cornock, a 76-year-old widow from the Vale of Glamorgan.

My mother did not live to see Sean White face justice. She died last November from cancer, her last months destroyed by the way Sean White and his mates conned her out of her life savings.

In all, she lost £272,300 in a scam linked to a new drive on her modest bungalow in Sully, near Penarth. Unknown to her family, who discovered the scam by accident while she was in hospital, she was conned and threatened for more than a year, too ashamed and frightened to call the police or tell anyone.

Today, at Cardiff Crown Court, Sean White was sentenced to two years - a year in jail, a year on licence -after pleading guilty to two counts of money laundering £115,000.

Judge Paul Thomas QC told White: "You were a vital component in this wicked enterprise. Without thoroughly dishonourable people like you, these men who exploited Mrs Cornock could not have profited so easily."

White committed the crimes while proprietor of his own business - Masons Homes (Rumney) Ltd. At the time of his arrest - and for three months afterwards - White was sales manager of Seraph Estates in Cardiff. The judge told him he would "never again be employed in a position of trust - and deservedly so".

White's defence was that he did not know where the money that ended up in his bank account came from, even though my mother's name clearly showed on online bank statements. White swiftly emptied the account; the money is long gone.

He told the police that he only knew those he passed the money to by nicknames. Would you lend your bank account details to someone you hardly knew? Me neither.

If you were a gang intent on fleecing an old lady for her life savings would you entrust £115,000 of your ill-gotten gains to someone you barely knew? I don't think so.

Besides the £115,000 sent by electronic transfer, my mother handed over a total of more than £150,000 in cash in payments to these thugs who regularly called at her home. The cash withdrawals from branches of NatWest in Penarth and Barry - £18,000 here, £7,000 there, and so on over a period of months, stopped only when she was admitted to hospital last September. She never came home.

My mother was a sensible, cautious woman who was prudent before Gordon Brown learned to spell the word.

She was a private person and was deeply ashamed of being conned in this way. She would not have appreciated this blog post or wanted others to know what she went through. It is very painful for me to have to re-live the events of last year. But if my Mum could fall for it, then so could yours.

Sean White, who has shown zero remorse, is behind bars but the villains who used his bank account are still out there, free to target other vulnerable old people.
Today, at  Cardiff Crown Court, I listened as White's barrister told Cardiff Crown Court how he'd played only a minor part in what the lawyer admitted was the systematic swindling of an old lady.
We heard about White's relationship problems, his child, his business failure, his own housing difficulties. There was just one word missing from the plea of mitigation.


Anonymous said...

If it is any small consolation David, there IS some honour amongst old lags and EVERYONE in the nick will know exactly what Sean White of 18 Glenroy Street Roath is in for. The screws in the dock will have told the screws in the prison van and they will tell the screws at the nick and they will tell the people who need to know... like those in the kitchen.. cheers Sean.. bon appetit mate.. still smiling?

Anonymous said...

Evil bastard. Hope he rots in the tank.

Adam Higgitt said...

A horrible business, for which justice seems to have only partially been done.

But you've done a good thing in publicising it.



How you have handled this and kept your dignity is a mark of a true man.
If its any consulation at all to you, I think your mam would be very proud of you.
Sean White and his mates days will come I am sure.
My thoughts and respect to you and your family.

Cadet Pam said...

How sad that this odious creature should receive such a light sentence. It made me tearful reading this agonizing article, I just wish I was a bit older so I could whack this ghastly animal in the goolies.

The whole thing is thoroughly disturbing, however the greatest tragedy is that we are unable to voice an opinion on those who commit these deplorable crimes, for fear of being put on trial for some kind of unreasonable prejudice charge. Surely it’s time that action be taken to protect those who have contributed so positively to society!

Mrs Cornock was susceptible to being taken advantage of and yet she wasn’t afforded the most basic protection against this pure form of evil. We all know who perpetrated this crime, as this is standard procedure for a certain group of people. So why aren't the police setting up a few fake old peoples homes to catch these monsters? Why aren't our courts treating these vermin more harshly? Why...because as a nation we have gone soft. We are too frightened to confront this creeping virus that multiplys before our eyes.

It is time to stand up to malevolent criminals such as the paving extortionist who perpetrated this crime, and protect those who have probably risked their lives in wars previous to keep us free and safe today.

Dear darling Mrs Cornock may your soul find the peace that you were denied in your final years.
God bless you and please know that I shall use your story to give me the courage to face up to evil when ever it should present itself.

David, you are completely my new hero, as previously stated, you have acted with the utmost decency and restraint and you embody all that is good in this life. It is my intention to become an RAF pilot in time, if I can become half the person you are I know I shall be someone people can look up to. Thank you for sharing your distressing tale, if it is any comfort it will have had great resonance with those who wish for a healthier society.

Pam 15 year old GCSE student

Tara said...

Hey David,
This is a terrible story which is hard to believe when you hear about it on the news. I have have known Sean White for about a year and he always came across as a haggler for money, always trying to make money out of people even if that meant taking the low road and being dishonest and sly.
I am glad he is finally paying for his sins, although looking at that sentence - it is ridiculous that he did not get more especially after what a tragic end your poor mother had to take because of scum like him :(

Take care