Mortgage broker Andrew Sizer, 47, of North Marine Road, said he had lost his business, his home, his offices and separated from his wife as a result of the criminal case.
Sizer is alleged to have conned James Morrisson, a fellow freemason at Leopold Lodge in Scarborough, out of £10,000 and is said to have subsequently provided Mr Morrisson with a “sham” document and £1,385 in an attempt to cover up the fraud.
He has always denied the allegations against him and maintains that Mr Morrisson’s money purchased two-thirds of his existing share in a Bulgarian property scheme, which he held for him in trust.
Giving evidence on the second day of his trial at York Crown Court, Sizer, when asked what implications the charges had had on his life, said: “My income stream has dried up completely. I have had to dissolve every company I had. It’s turned my world upside down completely. I’m unemployed. I live in a one-bedroom flat in North Marine Road, I’ve separated from my wife and my offices and marital home have been repossessed.
“My wife is living in a flat on her own and I’m living in another flat.”
Sizer admitted that a document he gave to Mr Morrisson after he began to inquire about his investment was “fiction”, but claimed he had created it due to Mr Morrisson’s constant questions about his cash and unannounced visits to his offices, then in Victoria Road.
Sizer’s barrister, Chris Moran, asked him: “Why on earth did you write so much rubbish on that piece of paper?”
Sizer said: “He was constantly harassing me and was making my life, my wife’s life and my staff’s lives a misery.”
He added that he felt “ashamed” of creating the document, but denied that he had done so to allow him to gain financially.
The document falsely stated that five investors had paid £10,000 each to join a scheme and that some shares belonging to Mr Morrisson had been sold at a profit.
In fact, the property syndicate consisted of 10 individuals, including Sizer and other members of his family, who had paid £15,000 each into the scheme.
The court heard that Mr Morrisson’s name did not appear on any documentation in a file marked ‘Bulgaria’ which was seized by police from Sizer’s office.
Sizer told the court that Mr Morrisson approached him at a Masonic Christmas party in December 2007 and said he wanted to invest money.
He added: “All he said was that his money was with a bank and that he was getting little return. He asked if I could get him a better return. I said yes.
“I advised him it was a medium to long-term investment. I have not been dishonest.”
Prosecutor Chris Smith, cross-examining, suggested that Sizer needed the money in February 2008, when Mr Morrisson transferred the £10,000, due to difficulties in the economy and housing market which had adversely affected Sizer’s business.
He added: “The Bulgarian investment had gone stagnant, hadn’t it? It was not going to mature as well or as quickly as you hoped.
“You had a £15,000 investment and you wanted some back. James Morrisson was a man who trusted you and had money.
“You took £10,000 off him and you sold part of your share to him, you say, but in reality this was all a scam designed to get you £10,000.
“Rather than tell him it was for two-thirds of your share in the syndicate, you parcelled it up as a small £50,000 investment with four businessmen which you said was short-term. That was more appealing than a share in a Bulgarian pipe dream.
“When he wanted his money back at the time you told him it would come back you lied to him, fobbed him off and generated a false document to buy yourself more time.
“You defrauded him, didn’t you?”
Sizer responded: “No sir.”
Sizer has always denied the charges. He pleaded not guilty when he last appeared at York Crown Court in August. He did not plead guilty, as was reported in yesterday’s Evening News.
The trial continues.
The defendent is no relation to Andrew Sizer of Sizer Jewellers in Scarborough.