Published: 00:00, 20 October 2006
A FORMER mayor's gambling addiction led him to pose as a solicitor to cheat money out of three vulnerable friends, a court heard.
But Norman Carter, a former first citizen at Medway, walked free from Maidstone Crown Court with a suspended sentence - and an order not to gamble for a year.
The court was told the 51-year-old's fall from grace after a distinguished career.
Kerry Musgrave, prosecuting, said the matter, spanning six months last year, showed a gross breach of trust and involved persuasion and careful planning.
Carter's victims included Hazel and Roy St Mary Green, who had known him for a number of years. The couple had become unwell and Carter said he was a solicitor and could help them with legal difficulties.
"He asked them for £1,000 in cash, which Mrs Green paid, so that he could act on their behalf."
But he was not in a position to assist them, as he was not qualified legally. Their problems had since become considerably worse., said the prosecutor.
Mr and Mrs Green had two friends, Shirley Bonham and her companion Pasqualino Cutone, who were also to become Carter's victims.
Miss Musgrave said the total amount Carter cheated out of the three was £15,510.
Carter, of Birmarsh Close, Chatham, admitted eight charges of obtaining property by deception and one of evasion of liability by deception.
Recorder David Griffith-Jones, QC, said it was sad to see Carter before the court for very serious offences involving a gross breach of trust.
He agreed to suspend a nine-month prison sentence for 12 months.
FULL STORY IN FRIDAY'S MEDWAY MESSENGER