AN ELDERLY woman whose accountant stole £100,000 of her savings has spoken of her devastation at his betrayal.
Mary Hope, 89, of Field End Road, Eastcote, was the victim of years of scamming by her former accountant, Fred Blacher.
Blacher, 65, of Grange Gardens, Pinner, was sent to jail for two years last week for deceiving Mrs Hope over a 16-year period.
He pleaded guilty to obtaining money by deception and concealing criminal property at Isleworth Crown Court after admitting that he was facing his own financial difficulties.
Mrs Hope said: "It has made me feel terrible. I don't have any money,;I am just waiting now.
"He has been told he has to pay it all back. I hear he may have to sell his house to pay for it all."
Blacher wrote himself blank cheques, persuading Mrs Hope to sign them without telling her why. He also helped re-mortgage her property, and charged her improperly for his fees.
"He is a nasty piece of work. He was recommended to me too; he had offices in Pinner but they have closed down now.
"The whole thing is just dragging on. He was arrested last summer after my carer discovered discrepancies in my accounts and challenged him.
"I don't think two years is enough, I am still in shock. I was too trusting, and my age is against me. He took advantage of me. The police were disgusted when they found out.
"He had an answer for everything, and claimed I gave him thousands in gifts, which was not true.
"Even through that time, though he was never really a friend - he was very businesslike - I trusted him."
Mrs Hope, who recently changed her name from Mary Phillips after converting to Judaism, attended Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, which Blacher also attended.
"I was worried he may get away with community service. His defence lawyers argued because of his age he should, but the judge said certainly not.
"If he had come round painting my fence I'd have tipped the paint over his head.
"You don't expect something like this to happen after all these years. It is frightening to think that I don't have any money."
Mary is now also looking for help of a different kind. "I'm looking for a guide dog, to help me out."
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