John Fitzpatrick sentenced to six years
27 February, 2014 | News Releases
John Fitzpatrick has been sentenced today at Sheffield Crown Court to 6 years’ imprisonment for theft and fraud offences.
He pleaded guilty on 11 November 2013 to two charges of obtaining money transfers by deception and seven charges of theft representing £1,157,000. The offences took place between 1997 and 2001. He was struck off the Roll of Solicitors in 8 March 2002.
In passing sentence HHJ Moore said:
“John Fitzpatrick joined with others in two quite spectacular mortgage frauds.
“The final theft deserved special mention as John Fitzpatrick was so desperate for money at that stage to avoid an inevitable investigation, he stole £100,000 of client money.”
Fitzpatrick was a solicitor, and all of the offending that he has pleaded guilty to involved offences against his clients, acting in breach of the trust that they placed in him as their solicitor.
The two charges of obtaining money transfers by deception related to his role as a solicitor facilitating mortgage frauds which formed part of the case successfully advanced by the SFO and the West Yorkshire Police on 4 November 2004 against Noel Ward, Raymond Brown, Tracy Ryder, Ian Colphon and Andrew Young and on 13 July 2009 against Lisa Sanderson. Fitzpatrick would have been tried alongside them had he not fled the jurisdiction in an attempt to evade justice.
He acted as a facilitator to a dishonest mortgage broker and his client in a fraudulent back to back property sale at an inflated price defrauding the mortgage lender and involving forged documents and identity theft.
Fitzpatrick himself was the instigator, prime mover and principal beneficiary of another mortgage fraud, both on the mortgage lender and his own client.
The seven counts of theft involved Fitzpatrick stealing clients’ money. Three counts related to theft of funds entrusted to him in the course of the victims buying or selling a home. One victim was left jobless and homeless as a result of Fitzpatrick stealing money intended for the purchase of a home and business. Another arrived to move in at the home he believed he had bought only to find it had not been sold to him at all and Fitzpatrick had stolen the purchase funds.
Four counts related to theft of funds entrusted to Fitzpatrick for investment on the false promise of high returns, which were instead appropriated for his own purposes.
Following intelligence received on Fitzpatrick’s whereabouts, enquiries were undertaken in the Krugersdorp area of South Africa and an extradition request was made in August 2011. Fitzpatrick was arrested in May 2013 by the South African authorities while using the alias John Cooper and was remanded in custody, initially in Krugersdorp prison before being transferred to Pretoria. He did not contest the extradition and an order was given for his surrender to the UK authorities. He was repatriated with the assistance of officers from West Yorkshire Police.
Fitzpatrick’s imprisonment is the final stage in a successful investigation and prosecution conducted by the Serious Fraud Office in conjunction with the West Yorkshire Police.
Notes to editors:
- John Fitzpatrick spent 76 days in custody in South Africa pending extradition. This will be deducted from his sentence.
- Previous information on the case and sentencing.