The 70-year-old widow of a man jailed for his part in a conspiracy to steal £1.2 million from banks was spared prison for her involvement in a “boiler room fraud”.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday how Sandra Phipps, of Ilkley, and father and son Roy, 78, and Kimberley Harris, 54, were part of a scam which saw about £100,000 from the sale of “shares” pass through different bank accounts.
Kirstie Watson, prosecuting, said Phipps’ husband John, who was jailed for four years in May 2009 after he was found guilty of conspiracy to steal in a separate case, was involved in the con but died before the case could come to court.
Handing her a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC told her the fraud had targeted people like herself and in some cases had “removed them of their life savings”.
Mrs Watson told the court that all seven victims were victims of a “boiler room fraud”, with many buying “shares” after cold calls.
The court heard how in a number of cases, payments for “shares” were paid into personal accounts belonging to Roy and Kimberley Harris and a business bank for York Synthetics Limited, with Phipps as a sole director. Payments were also made into John Phipps’ personal bank account.
Mrs Watson said the total amount of money involved amounted to about £100,000.
The judge heard Phipps had requested to transfer £1,000 to her husband’s personal account in January 2011 and a second payment for the same amount to Roy Harris.
She also attempted to transfer sums of money to two of the victims of the scam – one a payment of £281 and another a “dividend” payment of £95.
Phipps, of Westwood Rise, was convicted by jury of one count of converting criminal property and three courts of attempting to convert criminal property.
Andrew Walker, mitigating, said a statement by the Reverend Philip Grey, of Ilkley, had said she was controlled by her husband.
At an earlier hearing, Roy Harris, of Waterdale Drive, Manchester, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to convert criminal property on the basis that only two transactions amounting to around £10,000 had been paid into his account in 2011 and had agreed to do it in return for a payment of ten per cent of the figure.
Kimberley Harris, who the court heard was partially-sighted and suffered from a number of medical conditions, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to convert criminal property on the basis he was acting on request of his father.
Kimberley Harris, of Kirkby Street, London, was handed a six-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months with a 28 day residence requirement.