When Mr Richard Willis discovered that he would be receiving less inheritance from his mother’s Estate than his brother’s, he decided to take matters into his own hands. His mother, Audrey, was fearful that Mr Willis would waste his inheritance on frivolous items and so she decided to leave the bulk of her Estate to her other two sons, whom she believed would make better use of the funds.
Mr Willis discovered he would not inherit as much as he had expected when his father passed away 2007. He decided to take out a Power of Attorney for Audrey and exploited his position as an Attorney to syphon large sums of money from her Estate. In the space of just two months, Mr Willis stole £375,000.00 in cash withdrawals from his mother’s accounts. Not satisfied with this, he later sold his mother’s home and moved her into a care facility, using only £29,000.00 from the sale proceeds towards her care fees. He failed to properly care for his mother and when she passed away she owned just two sets of clothes.
Judge Mayo believes the total amount taken from Audrey by her son to be in excess of £713,000.00. Judge Mayo went on to say that as money became available to Mr Willis it “burned a hole in his pocket”, as he used the funds to purchase antiques, guns, cars and wine. Mr Willis also bought and furnished a cottage for himself using the money he stole.
Mr Willis was found guilty of four counts of fraud and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in 2015 but he was recently released on licence. Northamptonshire police have since used POCA legislation to get an order against Mr Willis who must now pay back over £566,000.00 to his mother’s Estate, which will then be divided in accordance with the terms of her Will. If Mr Willis does not pay the sums back to the Estate within three months of the POCA order then he will return to prison for a further 40 months.
Mr Willis’ greed resulted in him: spending four years in prison; returning the funds he stole; and no doubt has caused family frictions. It just goes to show that crime really doesn’t pay.