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Financial adviser who preyed on the bereaved jailed for £85k theft

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A financial adviser has been jailed for five years at Preston Crown Court for stealing a total of £85,470 from elderly victims.

Stewart Sermon, a self-employed financial adviser at B L Investments in Wigan, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of theft and a further count of theft was ordered to lie on file.

The Crown Prosecution Service said he deliberately targeted victims who had either recently lost a spouse or had no close relatives.

Sermon was previously an adviser at the Burns Anderson network, part of Honister Capital which was put into administration in July 2012 and declared in default last year.

He had also worked as an adviser for Barclays Financial Planning, Barclays Bank’s advice arm.

Sermon is listed on the FCA register as inactive.

Mark Humphries head of Crown Advocate Unit, Crown Prosecution Service North West said: “Stewart Sermon deliberately targeted vulnerable elderly people in order to steal vast amounts of money from them, depriving them of their life savings.

“He was arrested after the bank account belonging to one of the complainants was found to be overdrawn. Following a police investigation, two further victims were identified who had also fallen prey to his deceit.”

Sermon wrote out cheques to himself and drafted a victim’s will writing himself in as executor.

“The Crown Prosecution Service and the police are committed to seeing that those who prey on society’s elderly or vulnerable citizens are brought to justice. I urge anyone who has been the victim of similar offences and those who have witnessed any crimes against older people to report them to police.

“We are currently seeking to confiscate the stolen assets through the proceeds of crime legislation in order to repay the victims and ensure Stewart Sermon does not benefit from his crimes.”

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