Ex Scarborough estate agent in fraud sentencing

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

A SCARBOROUGH freemason who defrauded a fellow lodge member out of £10,000 has been sentenced to community service.

Andrew James Sizer, 47, had already undergone a “very considerable fall from grace”, York Crown Court heard, having lost his independent mortgage brokerage business in Victoria Road and his home.

Sizer was convicted by a jury at the court last year of two charges of fraud relating to an alleged investment in a Bulgarian land syndicate, and appeared back for sentencing yesterday.

Sizer, of North Marine Road, was said to have taken James Morrisson’s £10,000 in 2007, allegedly for a share in the investment, but then used the money to prop up his own lifestyle which had been hit by the recession.

He then produced a “sham” document showing false figures to support a payment of £1,385 to the retired Plaxton coach builder, who had begun demanding his money back in 2010, having no record of where the money had gone, or what it was allegedly being invested in.

Sizer, a former manager with the Scarborough Building Society and former estate agent, told the jury he had been approached by Mr Morrisson at the Leopold Freemason’s Lodge about investing the £10,000 and had used it to buy out two thirds of his own share of the Bulgarian scheme.

The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, heard that in a Victim Impact Statement Mr Morrisson had stated that he accepted to some extent that his own vulnerability had played a part in Sizer’s offending.

He added he also felt the trust he had placed in Sizer had been abused, and that he felt “stupid and distressed” about being taken advantage of.

Christopher Moran, mitigating, said the only work his client had ever been involved in had been in the financial world and, because of being convicted of fraud, would never again be able to carry out such employment.

Judge Ashurst sentenced Sizer to a 12 month community order with a requirement that he complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

The judge told him that as a result of his offending, including the “bizarre” and “stupid” attempts to cover his tracks by creating the false document, he now appeared before the court with a “tarnished” reputation in the Scarborough business community.

He said he was also aware, from testimonials present and given in person to the court, that Sizer had helped many people and carried out charitable work.

l The defendant is no relation to Andrew Sizer of Sizer Jewellers.