Wife of Brighouse fraudster has to meet £785,000 payout

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: John Hirst John Hirst

The estranged wife of a Brighouse fraudster faces the loss of her home after a judge ordered her to pay compensation to the victims totalling more than £785,000.

John Hirst, 61, of Huddersfield Road, was jailed for nine years after he swindled investors in his £10 million “Ponzi” scheme and used the money to fund the couple’s lavish lifestyle in Majorca.

His wife Linda, 64, was found guilty of money-laundering offences and jailed for two and a half years, but yesterday she was back at Bradford Crown Court to face further proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Hirst, of Woking, Surrey, is now on licence after serving part of her jail term and Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC ruled her benefit figure from the scam would be set at slightly more than £850,000.

As part of a confiscation order she will have to hand over the value of a house said to be valued at about £600,000 as well as cash in bank accounts, jewellery and a studio flat in Spain which previously belonged to her parents.

But her barrister, Nigel Sangster QC, argued that the judge could allow his client to retain the mobile home where she lives and which is valued at £75,000.

After hearing submissions about the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation the judge ruled that the mobile home should be included in the available assets.

Judge Durham Hall agreed with a prosecution application that the confiscated sums should be used to compensate the victims of the fraud and he gave Hirst six months in which to pay up.

If she fails to pay back the money she could be jailed again for up to four years.

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