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£1m fraudster hid £20,000 from his victims

PUBLISHED: 15:07 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:29 01 July 2019

Peter Jones was sentanced to four years eight months in prison for charged with the theft of almost £800,000 following an investigation into his employment with a wills, probate and inheritance services company in Norwich. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

Peter Jones was sentanced to four years eight months in prison for charged with the theft of almost £800,000 following an investigation into his employment with a wills, probate and inheritance services company in Norwich. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

A £1m fraudster is back in jail after being caught trying to hide £20,000 that he was ordered to pay back to his victims.

Peter Jones, a former director of a Drayton will, probate and inheritance firm, was released from prison after serving part of a four years, eight months sentence.

He was locked up in August 2014 after he admitted stealing £960,000 over a five-year period, including some charity bequests.

In 2015 the 58-year-old a director of Heritage Legal and Financial Ltd, on Hellesdon Park Road, faced a proceeds of crime hearing and was ordered to pay it all back.

The fraudster, of Market Street, Shipdham, invested much of his ill-gotten gains in property, but on Monday he was back before Norwich Crown Court after it emerged he lied about assets and failed to reveal he owned a portfolio of shares worth £20,000,

Andrew Oliver, prosecuting, said although he had paid back £912,333, which went as compensation to losers, he failed to declare the shares.

Mr Oliver said: "Victims were not going to be compensated as a result of his dishonesty and his attempt to hoodwink the court into believing he had fewer assets than the court originally found."

Jones admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2017 and was jailed for 26 weeks.

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Sentencing him, Judge Katharine Moore said he had lied to the court about his assets and had behaved in a "despicable" way.

She said what he had done had struck at the heart of the criminal justice system and said: "You were hoping to line your own pocket rather than pay back that which you were obliged to return. It is a most serious matter,"

She added: "You persisted in the lie and by good fortune it was discovered."

Michael Clare, for Jones, said that he was a hard-working man who had done everything to rehabilitate himself since coming out of prison.

He had paid back £1 million as ordered by the court but was tempted to keep the £20,000 in shares, which he could use to help rebuild his life.

He said: "He failed to resist the temptation to keep hold of the share portfolio."

He added: "He was working hard at the time and still is."

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