Serial fraudster Simon Eason from Wick has today been jailed for four years and eight months at Bristol Crown Court for fraud offences totalling more than £1m.
Father-of-four Eason, 58, of High Street, had previously admitted four charges spanning the years 2006 to 2012 and was sentenced today.
He had pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining money through deception totalling £520,000 from a man who said his life had been wrecked as a result, as well as admitting a fraud involving a farmer’s £244,000, and a further fraud totalling £330,000. His victims in that case were two businessmen who ran a car dealership in Weston-super-Mare.
Eight further counts – one of theft, five of fraud, one of obtaining money by transfer and one of obtaining property by deception – will lie on file.
The court heard that Eason, a one-time successful businessman, who used to live in Saltford, took advantage of people who were financially vulnerable but instead of sorting out their problems he took money from them and used it to prop up his own failing businesses. When his victims tried to approach him to find out what had happened to their money, he spun them a web of lies and delaying tactics.
The court heard that Dave Partington, from Dundry, lost £520,000 and Eason’s actions had led to the breakdown of his family. He has also suffered from depression, including suicidal thoughts.
Others who have suffered because of Eason’s actions were in the public gallery for the sentencing this afternoon.
Eason, wearing a grey suit and open-neck blue striped shirt, showed no emotion as he was sentenced. With good behaviour he will serve just half of his term.
The judge, Mr Recorder Lawrie, told Eason he was “a thoroughly selfish and dishonest individual”. He said he was as cowardly as he was dishonest, adding: “I don’t detect a shred of regret.”
He said Eason had taken advantage of people who were vulnerable to feed and sustain his own greed. As he sent him down he told him to reflect on the victim impact statement written by Mr Partington: “Let it be a constant reminder of your selfish actions.”
Mr Partington was not in court for the sentencing but his mother Margaret was. Afterwards she told The Week In that even double that sentence would not have been sufficient to compensate for what had happened to her family.
Tonight Avon & Somerset police thanked all the victims and witnesses who took the time to give statement as to support proceedings against Eason: “He has systematically defrauded his victims of £1.1m over a six-year period, showing no remorse for the distress and anguish he has caused by his actions.
“He has abused the trust they had in him to complete the work he was employed to do and he persistently lied when confronted by the victims in an effort to cover his fraudulent activity.
“Fraud is not a victimless crime. Eason has affected many livelihoods and Avon & Somerset police take these crimes seriously.
“Today’s result sends a clear message of how serious the criminal justice system takes cases of this nature and sends a warning to others who seek to defraud.”
Police investigations are continuing into what happened to the money Eason stole.
A full report on the court case, with interviews with some of Eason’s victims, including Mr Partington and a businessman from Hanham, will be in The Week In next Thursday