Confiscation hearing for Brighouse conman

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A Brighouse conman who enjoyed a life of luxury with money from unsuspecting investors is facing a confiscation hearing at the end of the year.

John Hirst was jailed for nine years last summer after a court heard how he swindled dozens of investors, many of them ex-pats living in Mallorca, out of millions of pounds.

Hirst and his wife Linda enjoyed all the trappings of a successful business with a villa on the island, a lavish wedding, cruises and luxury cars, but his scam came crashing down when his so-called “Ponzi” investment scheme ran out of money.

Hirst, who had a previous conviction for conning miners out of their redundancy money, had promised investors substantial returns, but instead he spent the cash on his own high living.

During a lengthy trial at Bradford Crown Court Hirst, 61, of Millroyd Mill, admitted his part in the scam which lasted several years and cost investors an estimated £5 million.

His 62-year-old estranged wife, from Surrey, was convicted on three charges of money laundering and was also found guilty of deception.

Richard Pollett, a 70-year-old accountant who lived on Mallorca, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.

Linda Hirst was jailed for two-and-a-half years for her criminal conduct while Pollett was locked up for six-and-a-half years.

John Hirst is said to have benefited from his activities to the tune of £10.5 million and the trio now face further proceedings before the court in an effort to reclaim some of the missing investors’ money.

None of the defendants were brought to Bradford Crown Court today (Friday), but Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC agreed a timetable with the barristers in the case.

Prosecution barrister Rachel Barnes said the main issue would be the “available assets” which could form part of confiscation orders against the three defendants.

Linda Hirst’s case is expected to be the first one to be resolved with a new date fixed for August 2 while Pollett’s hearing date has been set down for October 18.

John Hirst’s hearing, which could last two days, will not be heard until December 12.

But Judge Durham Hall told all counsel that if the orders could be agreed sooner he would list the hearings on any suitable date.