Sidmouth fraud victims’ ‘final insult’

Couple swindled out of �150,000 had been living in false hope

SIDMOUTH fraud victims swindled out of �150,000 were distraught to learn they’d been living in false hope for months.

Terry and Lin Green discovered a court battle to recoup some of their lost life-savings had failed - half-a-year after a judge dismissed the case.

The struggling couple had clung on to an aspiration that “a pittance” in remuneration could provide them with closure to five-years of “living hell”.

Instead, they say losing their Vicarage Road family home of nearly three decades will be one final insult.

Terry, 52, and Lin, 62, have only just found out a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) effort to secure monies from a gambling-addict, jailed in 2009 for destroying their livelihood, had been unsuccessful.

The confiscation case - launched under the Proceeds of Crime Act - was dismissed by a judge in September last year.

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“We’re still suffering,” said Terry.

“I worked all my life to get where we were, and now I’ve got nothing. This is killing both of us.”

A dream move to start a new life in Canada in 2007 turned into a nightmare for Terry and Lin when a crooked bookkeeper deceived them out of �150,000 – crippling their 20-year-old town TAG Builders firm.

They say the crime has left them penniless, has cost them more than �400,000 in interest, VAT and bank charges, and they are still receiving bills today.

Dad-of-two Terry says he’ll be on anti-depressants and sleeping tablets for the rest of his life as a result of the ordeal. Wife Lin is battling a stress-related stomach condition that has left acid on her lungs.

The CPS launched confiscation proceedings against the culprit – who admitted fraud and was convicted – a-year-and-half-ago.

“We were hoping and hoping – and then we get no hope,” said Terry.

“Even if it had been a pittance it would have been something – anything would have been a bonus,” said Lin.“We love our house, we hoped somehow we wouldn’t lose it, but our mortgage is interest-only so the bank will take it in three years.”

The couple have jetted back to Canada where they survive “day by day” running a motel bought before the fraud. They say they may never return to Sidmouth because of the bad memories of their ordeal.

“This has ruined our lives,” said Terry.

A CPS spokesman confirmed an effort had been made to recoup monies from the fraudster but the case was dismissed. He added that, due to the complicated nature of confiscation proceedings, victims were not always kept informed of their progress.