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Jail for serial con man who was ‘no Robin Hood’

A serial con man who stole $70,000 from a senior to impress a younger woman was has been jailed for six years.

Xavier Trace Douglas, 52, told the court he committed the offence because he wanted to help a young mother who he met, but Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said the man was not the Robin Hood figure he claimed to be.

“This defendant is no Robin Hood who stole from the rich to give to a damsel in distress,” Mr Justice Greaves said. “He is a selfish con man who stole from an old couple through their bank to buy a young woman's love.”

Prosecutor Nicole Smith told the court that in October of 2012, 68-year-old Casmin Richardson discovered that $70,000 had been withdrawn from the Capital G bank account she shared with her husband Vincent in the form of a draft to a Trace Douglas.

Not knowing anyone of that name and not having approved any such draft, Mrs Casmin contacted the bank, who said that the draft had been approved by her husband. However, at that time Mr Richardson, 70, was in hospital recovering from a stroke and incapable of ordering a draft.

During the subsequent investigation, it was discovered that Douglas had repeatedly called the bank and, using a false name and claiming to be a lawyer representing Mr Richardson, asked about ordering a bank draft from the senior's account via telephone.

Douglas was able to convince the bank to produce a draft from the Richardson account in his own name and, despite the suspicion of several members of staff, was able to collect it on September 21, 2012.

He then opened a new account in his name, depositing $57,000 and leaving the bank with the remaining $13,000 in cash.

Financial Crime Unit officers also learned that, among other purchases and withdraws from the new account, Douglas had ordered a $45,000 draft on September 27 to purchase a second-hand Jeep Patriot.

Officers later discovered the vehicle being driven by a woman who told police it belonged to Douglas.

In a subsequent police interview she told police she had met Douglas while riding the bus with her children and became close. During their short relationship she said Douglas told her he wanted to buy her a car and promised to pay her rental arrears.

On September 21, 2012, she said he handed her an envelope containing $8,000 in cash to pay her rent, which she used to pay her landlord. He later purchased the jeep for her to use so she wouldn't have to take the bus with her children.

She later approached police again, saying she had covertly recorded a conversation with the defendant. In the recording, Douglas admitted the offence and said that he knew Mr Richardson.

Douglas subsequently pleaded guilty to theft, while a second charge of financially exploiting a senior was ordered to lie on file.

Speaking to the court yesterday, Douglas apologised for the incident saying he simply wanted to help out a young mother who was in trouble.

“The crime I committed, I think it was just a matter of the heart,” he said.

The court however heard Douglas has multiple previous convictions for dishonesty offences — including a 2002 conviction for an offence against the same victim for which he was sentenced to two years in prison.

On that occasion, the court had heard Douglas had attended the Bank of Butterfield and managed to withdraw a $19,000 manager's draft from Mr Richardsons account. He returned days later and withdrew a further $38,000.

Delivering his sentence, Mr Justice Greaves said Douglas appears to be making a career out of ripping people off and, based on his criminal history, is likely to commit further offences.

“He must be a good talker too,” he added. “This man has been able to rip off the bank. More than one bank. Three people in the bank thought he was suspicious and they gave him the money.”

He sentenced Douglas to six years in prison with the time already served taken into account. He also ordered that the jeep purchased by Douglas be forfeited to Capital G Bank — who have already reimbursed Mrs Richardson for the stolen $70,000 — as part of the defendant's reparations.

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Published March 15, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 15, 2014 at 1:25 am)

Jail for serial con man who was ‘no Robin Hood’

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