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Strood businessman who stole £450k from dad and bought Range Rover will repay £1


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A swindler who left his father broke and splashed out on a Range Rover after taking his £450,000 life savings will now have to repay just £1.

Gambler Peter Simmons invented a fake investment banker called Paul Newman to take the cash behind his dad's back.

Gambler Peter Simmons stole his father's life savings
Gambler Peter Simmons stole his father's life savings

His father was later forced to come out of retirement after learning of his crooked son's thieving.

But now a judge has heard that after a detailed financial investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Simmons jnr has no assets.

All he will have to repay is a nominal £1 – not even the price of a cup of tea – or serve an extra day in jail.

He is presently serving a 42-month jail sentence for fraud.

Maidstone Crown Court had heard how the criminal splashed out on an £80,000 Range Rover.

He took control of the business's finances when his mother died
He took control of the business's finances when his mother died

It was only when tree surgeon Peter Simmons senior went to the bank with his other children he discovered all the money gone.

The thief had also raided his father's safe and pawned rings once owned by his late mother.

Simmons jnr, of High Street, Manston, telephoned his devastated dad telling him: "I'm sorry...I hope you will forgive me."

Prosecutor Bridget Todd revealed how he had worked with his mother Sharon at the family's Greenway Forestry Ltd, based in Squires Close, Strood.

She died in October 2014 and he took over the company's administration and banking, paying wages and VAT bills.

He appeared at Maidstone Crown Court
He appeared at Maidstone Crown Court

Almost immediately he invented a personal investment banker called 'Paul Newman', who he claimed had assisted his late mother.

Ms Todd said Mr Simmons senior trusted his son and wasn't aware Mr Newman was a "fictitious character invented by the defendant".

The swindling son even supplied his dad with bogus Barclays Bank statements – designed to disguise the thieving by including genuine purchases.

Between June 5, 2015 and October 3, 2018, Simmons junior made 597 bank transfers from his father's personal account – ranging from £10 to £4,000, the court heard.

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