|Fraudsters who Robbed Widow's Estate Have No Assets to Repay Victims|
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A group of crooks who stole over half a million pounds from a paralysed widow and faked her will have told a court that they can pay nothing back to the real beneficiaries.
The four criminals are Marcus Mackay of Romford, Essex; Zandra Mackay, of Cottenham, Cambs; and Deborah Atkinson and Beryl Benbow of Lidgate, Suffolk. In June this year they were convicted of swindling 83-year old Catherine Devas of Cambridge of almost her entire estate.
Zandra Mackay and Deborah Atkinson had both worked for Mrs Devas, as the old lady's carer and secretary respectively. With the assistance of Zandra's son Marcus Mackay, and Deborah's mother Beryl Benbow, they managed to empty out Mrs Devas' bank account and then tried to sell her home before her death in 2006.
They then prepared a will on behalf of Mrs Devas, witnessed by Mrs Mackay and Mrs Atkinson, and making Mrs Mackay's son Marcus the sole beneficiary. That will was subsequently challenged by Mrs Devas' relatives.
Last August, when the police investigation of the Mackays was already well under way, the will was struck down on grounds of mental incapacity.
Beryl Benbow, who acted as money launderer, was the only one of the four to avoid jail.
Two other defendants at the trial, Marcus Mackay's ex-wife Sharron and Mrs Atkinson's daughter Sophie, were acquitted of conspiracy to defraud.
The authorities are now trying to recover the lost assets. Last week a Proceeds of Crime hearing took place at Cambridge Crown Court at which the four were ordered to repay any available funds to the Devas family.
But the four say they now have no assets worth chasing. The judge said the Crown will pursue them for any assets they may acquire in future.
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Published on our website on Oct.19, 2010