Woman scammed investors out of thousands in fake scheme

Crown Court, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Crown Court, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A 77-year-old former driving instructor who conned a father and son out of more than £20,000 after persuading them to put their money in a bogus investment scheme has been given an absolute discharge after a court heard she has dementia.

During the 11 year fraud Doreen Quinton, also known as Gooch, of Booth Lane, Kesgrave, wove a “web of lies and deceit” to get money out of two men who were family friends, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The fraud included providing names of people who didn’t exist and the name of a man she claimed was her step-father.

Simon Gladwell, prosecuting, said Quinton, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2013, claimed her step-father was a wealthy entrepreneur who travelled the world seeking lucrative business deals and was looking for new investors.

On the basis of what he was told one of the men, who is now 75, made regular cash payments over ten years on the basis his investment and interest would be returned in full in June 2015.

The man, who was defrauded out of £19,000, was given receipts by Quinton and provided with printed statements purporting to show where his money had been invested.

As the June 2015 payday got nearer Quinton claimed her father had been taken ill and subsequently died, and the man who had taken over the investment scheme had been jailed for three years for embezzling the funds.

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The court heard Quinton faced a charge of committing fraud between 2004 and 2015 by false representation.

On Thursday Judge Rupert Overbury found she was unfit to stand trial because of her dementia and a jury was empanelled to decide whether or not the act she was alleged to have committed had taken place.

The jury subsequently found that Quinton had committed the fraud and she was given an absolute discharge.

One of the victims of the fraud told the court that after 11 years the projected return on his investment was £750,000.

His son, who lost £3,000, told the court he had started to question the legitimacy of the scheme after five or six years and had stopped making payments to Quinton.

“I thought it was too good to be true,” he said.

He said in hindsight he wished he had made his father aware of his suspicions.

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