THE forger in a sophisticated con attempt to steal three quarters of a million pounds has been jailed for four years.
Tyrone Christie, 37, is the only member of the gang, which nearly pulled off the audacious heist on the former chief executive of Allied Dunbar, to be caught.
In order to get his signature the criminals arranged for a dummy delivery to the victim’s tax consultant as he had to countersign any forms.
But the con failed at the last minute when security at financial firm Zurich , which bought up Allied Dunbar, checked a change of address for their former boss and the cheques, which had been sent out, were stopped.
Dr George Greener and his wife, who had set up the financial plan for their disabled son, noticed in late 2004 they were not getting all their post from Zurich.
In early 2005, a woman in the security department called to check a change of address to a house in Peckham, where they had sent cheques after cancelling the plan.
It was found more than 60 phone calls had been made about the account in the previous few months.
The conversations were listened to and it was clearly not Dr Greener who was asking for the surrender forms.
In order to get the money the conmen had got forgeries of not only Mr Greener’s driving licence but also the account’s trustee Roger Parks ’. A delivery of a bottle of liqueur was made to Mr Parks which had to be signed for which allowed the gang to get his signature. A solicitor’s stamp, stolen from a firm in London, was used to authenticate the photocopies of the licences along with a utility bill and bank statement.
Chris Smyth, prosecuting, said Christie’s fingerprints were found on the forged documents which led to his arrest earlier this year.
“Four cheques were sent out to the false address totalling £772,580.68p. It seems just by good fortune they were unable to cash them,” he said.
Christie, of Mitcham, Surrey, pleaded guilty to attempting to obtain property by deception.
Andrew Hobson, defending, said his client was not the main player in the operation having been drafted in to do the forging. He said his client was struggling at the time and was offered five per cent of the proceeds.
Jailing him, Judge Douglas Field said: “This was a very serious and sophisticated fraud.
“Dr Greener and his wife invested a very considerable amount of money, just under £1,000,000, and my reading of the papers was that it was an investment for their disabled son. They had no intention of cashing in that plan.”
He added: “You were involved in forging the driving licences, forging a utility bill and forging a bank statement. You may not have been the main instigator but your role in this was quite considerable.”