A former Scarborough freemason who fell from grace after defrauding a fellow lodge member out of £10,000 has been ordered to pay his victim just £500 as a result of his bankruptcy.
Andrew James Sizer, 48, lost his independent mortgage brokerage business in Victoria Road, his home and was left with more than £80,000 in unsecure debts after being charged and convicted by a jury last year of two charges of fraud.
The fraud related to an alleged investment in a Bulgarian land syndicate.
Sizer appeared in January, this year, before York Crown Court for sentencing and was placed under a 12 month community order with a requirement that he complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
On Wednesday, October 24, he was back before the court for an adjourned hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act to establish what assets he had that could be confiscated and used to compensate his victim.
However, the court was told that only recently Sizer, of North Marine Drive, had recently been declared bankrupt and was now reliant on Job Seekers Benefit and a carers allowance for looking after a neighbour.
Declaring that, allowing for a small repayment made to the victim of the fraud, Sizer had benefited to the tune of £9,973.42, The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, ordered that because of his financial position, Sizer would only have £1 confiscated to pay for the costs of the case.
Adding that he did not wish it to appear that he was making a derisory compensation order, the judge said that, because of his bankruptcy, Sizer should pay his victim £500.
However, he added that if Sizer’s financial position improves in the future, matters could be looked at again.
The court heard that, although the victim would be considered a creditor under the bankruptcy rules, he was not a priority creditor and would be very unlikely to receive anything from those proceedings.
Sizer, a former manager with the Scarborough Building Society and former estate agent, told the jury in his original trial, that he had been approached by James Morrisson at the Leopold Freemason’s Lodge about investing the £10,000, using it to buy out two thirds of his own share of the Bulgarian scheme.
Sizer told the jury Mr Morrisson was a “broad brush”, did not want any paperwork and had said that he trusted him to invest his money.
He claimed that after Mr Morrisson began regularly turning up at his offices demanding his money back and saying he had changed his mind, he agreed to pay him some money as a “goodwill gesture” and produced a false document in an effort to appease him.
Sizer claimed the Bulgarian syndicate was still in existence, with other shareholders still content to wait until the recession was over.
In a Victim Impact Statement to the sentencing hearing Mr Morrisson said he felt that the trust he had placed in Sizer had been abused, and felt “stupid and distressed” about being taken advantage of.