A bankrupt man swindled a 75-year-old friend out of £2,000 after promising he could get her a good euro exchange rate, a court heard.
Eileen Erlis had been friends with Stephen Saddington for 30 years and even played on the same dominoes team as him, when she entrusted him with the money, believing he worked for the bureau de change.
But she never saw a single cent as self-declared bankrupt Saddington stole the money and used it to pay off his mounting debts and rent arrears.
Just three days after taking the pensioner’s money, Saddington started taking cash from another friend – stealing £4,000 from Stephen Williams, who had been working around the clock to save for a dream trip to Australia.
Saddington, 60, who lives in sheltered accommodation in Vicars Cross, told his victims that he could exchange their money on a ‘staff rate’, after they went to him for advice believing he worked at the bureau de change in Manchester Airport.
In reality, he no longer worked for the company after it was discovered he’d stolen £7,000 from a fellow employee and received a caution.
At Chester Magistrates Court on Monday, October 27, Saddington pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by misrepresentation after stealing thousands of pounds from the two victims during the incidents in Frodsham.
He initially persuaded Mr Williams to hand over £1,000 after advising him that using a specific prepaid currency card was not the best option for his trip, on June 3 this year – just three days after taking £2,000 from Mrs Erlis.
Rob Youds, prosecuting, said that Saddington told his victim the card was ‘rubbish’ and that he could get him a better exchange rate using his staff benefits, but that the money would need to be in his account for at least a month to get the rate.
And when Mr Williams contacted Saddington to find out when he would get the money, he sent him more information on currency rates before asking him for a further £3,000.
He went on his trip without receiving any of his money, and it was only when he returned home that he discovered Saddington had lost his job and the money was gone.
Reading from Mr William’s victim impact statement, Rob Youds prosecuting said: “I am still trying to this day to come to terms with the incident.
“I was working 12 hours a day, six days a week between May and June to fund my holiday.
“My wife and I tried very hard not to let his actions overshadow our trip.
“I am utterly devastated. I am going to find it very difficult to trust anyone ever again.”
Neither victim is seeking compensation from Saddington, as they are both aware he is unemployed and has no funds.
Saddington, who has no previous convictions aside from the caution, was released on unconditional bail and his case was sent to Chester Crown Court for sentencing.