Highland conman told to repay thousands to 'elderly' blind woman
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A registered blind woman was conned out of £9500 by an Inverness man who convinced her he would carry out work on two crofts but ultimately did very little.
Daniel Kay, of Longman Caravan Park, admitted carrying out the fraudulent scheme on the then 64-year-old Sutherland woman after being originally charged with inducing her to pay him £27,100.
But at Inverness Sheriff Court, the 33-year-old who has links to Easter Ross, pleaded guilty to obtaining the reduced amount which occurred between October 9, 2017 and January 4, 2018. The charge also intimated he had given receipts using false names.
Sheriff Ian Cruickshank was critical of Kay who had made no effort to repay the money and warned him that if none was made, he would be jailed.
He told defence solicitor David Patterson: "He may benefit dramatically if it is paid by the time it comes to sentence or at least a reasonable plan is put in place. If not, he may be facing an inevitable outcome. This is extremely serious."
He then addressed Kay directly, saying: "You have taken advantage of an elderly woman."
Mr Patterson said his client intended to make recompense.
The sheriff was also unhappy at the time it had taken for Kay to lodge a plea. He noted that an admission to the reduced sum had first been offered by prosecutors in early 2021.
Mr Patterson, who was the third agent to take over the case, explained there had been two changes of solicitors during that time – and that one of Kay's legal representatives had died.
He told the court he would give a full explanation at the next hearing.
Sheriff Cruickshank deferred sentence until May 22 for a background report and Kay's bail was continued.
Fiscal depute Pauline Gair told the court that the crofts involved were located in the Lairg area and required ground and building work.
She said that in early October 2018, Kay was in the area looking for scrap metal and collected some from the crofts.
"He offered to do some work on the crofts and offered to move a caravan around to another plot, get new windows, a door, new drains, electrics and other improvement jobs," she said.
"A digger arrived and a small amount of work was done. Kay also told the woman he could put a log cabin on the property for her and do chippings.
"Little work was carried out and excuses for the delay were given about people being ill and deaths occurring. She paid him £9500 and she was given receipts in the names of Daniel Smith and Angus Reid.
"After a period of time, the matter was reported to the police."