Law seeks to claim conman’s ‘fortune’

Mark Howe photographed in front of Leeds Crown Courts, Leeds, West Yorkshire, where he appeared for stealing and conning 800,000 pounds from financial costumers.
Mark Howe photographed in front of Leeds Crown Courts, Leeds, West Yorkshire, where he appeared for stealing and conning 800,000 pounds from financial costumers.
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FINANCIAL investigators will attempt to reclaim up to three quarters of a million pounds from a Scarborough swindler.

Crooked businessman Mark Howe, who ran a string of businesses in the town, will face a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing in the summer, a judge ruled yesterday.

Howe fuelled a life of luxury by conning his trusting victims out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The fraudster was handed a 10-year jail sentence in late October 2008 at Leeds Crown Court, after a jury found him guilty of 18 charges for offences he committed between 1998 and 2006.

In September last year, he was subsequently convicted of further fraud by false representation offences at York Crown Court, which were committed between November 2007 and March 2008.

Howe, who lived in Scarborough Road in Driffield before his extended stint at Her Majesty’s pleasure, ran a string of businesses in Scarborough including Beach and Howe estate agents, FS Consultancy and 4PMI UK.

The former soldier cheated his mostly-elderly clients, who had believed they were buying into his investment portfolio, out of more than £790,000.

He promised good returns but instead of investing the cash as promised, he bought fast cars, holidays and squandered money at casinos, his three-week trial heard.

Howe was told that his greed had ruined the lives of his many victims, which included his neighbours, friends, business associates and his own mother-in-law.

Upon conviction, Judge Paul Hoffman told him: “In over 40 years I have come across many ruthless fraudsters but few could have measured up to you in terms of sheer criminality, breach of trust, ruthlessness, harm done and total lack of remorse.”

At a hearing at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, the timetable for the Proceeds of Crime Act case against Howe was laid out. Howe was not in attendance.

Prosecutor Alan Jones said the Crown could seek up to £748,000.

The hearing, which is expected to last for one day and should involve Howe giving live evidence, will be held on July 2 in Leeds.

The hardest hit of his victims, a couple from the Malton area, lost £269,357.