Management consultant jailed for £850k will fraud

  • Disciplinary
Management consultant jailed for £850k will fraud
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

A retired management consultant has been jailed for five years after defrauding vulnerable people out of nearly £900,000, which he used to fund a gambling addiction and holidays.

Peter Grant Holbrook, 75, from Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud, which resulted in him gaining £850,000.

He stole money from nine different victims between 2011 and 2021 while acting as a financial advisor, trustee and custodian of funds.

Holbrook befriended the victims and offered to write their wills and handle probate for their deceased spouses’ estates. But he gambled most of the money away after claiming to have invested it overseas.

He defrauded £384,303 from one victim and £231,625 from another. In total, his nine victims lost £850,000.

In the case of one couple, Holbrook handled their estate after Elizabeth Hatton’s death in 2011. He also wrote the will for her mother, Marjorie Calvert, who died this year.

Holbrook, who despite having a background in finance had no legal qualifications to write wills or deal with people’s estates, had offered to invest money for both parties and issued them with fake passbooks with details of client accounts which did not exist.

In total, he took £150,000 from Christopher Hatton, alongside £20,000 from Calvert. When Calvert’s daughter, Gillian Farr, contacted him after becoming suspicious in 2014, he became evasive and lied to her that the money had been held in a frozen bank account in the US.

He even sent fake letters from banks to ‘buy himself time’ after Mrs Farr reported him to the police, who took no further action because he agreed to repay the money.

Although £13,500 was returned, the majority was from the funds of his later victims. Mr Hatton was left unable to fulfil his retirement plans or pass on inheritance to his children.

One victim was befriended and persuaded to invest her savings in Holbrook’s ‘client account’. But this was his own personal bank account.

In a police interview, Holbrook boasted of being a successful professional gambler who made £100,000 a year. He said he kept up his job helping families with their wills because he liked to help people.

On top of gambling much of the money away, he spent some of it on a holiday to the Netherlands and Belgium.

Appearing at Bradford Crown Court, Holbrook’s defence told the court that before these incidents he had lived a crime-free life and had even helped set up a table tennis club in Keighley, where he was a director.

In mitigation, John Batchelor, defending, said the offending had put a great strain on his family and that Holbrook had felt ‘contempt and disgust’ with himself and wished he could repay every penny.

He had spent 12 hours a day in a home office gambling online, at the expense of relationships with his wife, son and daughter.

The former management consultant began offending after he decided to semi-retire and set up his own advisory business.

Jailing Holbrook for five years and three months, Recorder Richard Thyne KC remarked that he had shown ‘little empathy’ and ‘thought only of himself’.

For information on gross misconduct, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like Do I have to sack someone when they have committed gross misconduct?

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