A FRAUDSTER who conned vulnerable people out of thousands of pounds has been jailed following a ‘complex’ police investigation.

Jonathon Mark Turner-Miller pleaded guilty to fraud at Teesside Crown Court after scamming people through a bogus house buying scheme.

The 63-year-old committed a series of frauds between 2011 and 2014 when he was the director of a property development business and claimed to have extensive experience in the estate agency business and property market.

The court heard how Turner-Miller set up a rent-to-buy scheme, targeting vulnerable victims in North Yorkshire.

He promised them that through the scheme, he would successfully obtain a mortgage for them, thus allowing them to buy the property of their dreams.

To participate in the scheme, which Turner-Miller advertised as government-backed, victims were advised to provide a five per cent deposit on a property.

Turner-Miller claimed the money would be held within a secure deposit account and upon completion of the scheme, would be returned to them.

However, following a report from a victim to North Yorkshire Police, officers started to investigate.

They found that Turner-Miller was in fact depositing his customers five per cent into his own personal bank account and was spending their money to fund his lifestyle and service his debt.

A detailed and complex police investigation followed and North Yorkshire Police, working alongside Action Fraud, located a total of 11 victims of Turner-Miller, all of whom had lost a significant amount of money to the fraudster.

At sentencing, Judge Ashurst stated that the level of harm this fraud had caused was extremely great and had adversely affected the financial and emotional state of each victim, who are still suffering the effects of their financial loss and will feel the effects for years to come.

Turner-Miller, of Canal Bank, Lymm, Cheshire was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison and banned for being a director of a business for ten years.

Investigating officer for North Yorkshire Police, DC Gary Smith Owen, who returned from retirement to bring the investigation to its conclusion said: “This has been a lengthy and meticulous investigation which started back in 2014, so we are pleased with the sentence that was returned by the court.

“I hope this sends out a strong message to those who think they can con people out of their hard earned savings and take advantage of people’s aspirations, if you are suspected of committing fraud, police will turn over every stone and analyse every detail of your business, in order to protect the vulnerable.”