Victim in the dark over swindled cash
A conman jailed last week is facing an investigation to establish if he has hidden any of the money he swindled from a former diplomat and her daughter.
Maurice Kelly, originally from Bangor, was sentenced to four years and 11 months in prison for defrauding Sarah Robertson out of more than £200,000.
He was also investigated for conning his victim’s mother, a former adviser to the UN secretary-general, out of between £1.2m and £1.4m through phoney investments.
After Patsy Robertson died in August 2020 aged 86, the prosecution was not proceeded with.
Kelly, who was introduced to the women by a relative, promised vast returns on their investment when, in reality, the money went to fund his lavish lifestyle, including gifts for a string of much younger girlfriends.
Sarah Robertson said she would continue to fight for justice and has asked that the Insolvency Service investigates the whereabouts of the swindled money.
She vowed she would continue “putting pressure on” the authorities and urged the government to do more to fight white-collar crime.
After Kelly moved from Northern Ireland to London, he mixed in elite circles and claimed to be a successful property investor.
He worked out of plush offices in Mayfair and drove high-end cars, but it was all paid for with money swindled from his victims, who never saw any return on their substantial investments.
Patsy Robertson was a big name in diplomatic circles. She was instrumental in changing attitudes in Britain towards South Africa’s Apartheid regime, using her vast network of journalist friends to challenge people in power.
She trusted Kelly, but that trust was betrayed when he failed to give her any return on her investment.
Sarah Robertson lost her London home because of the fraud but pursued Kelly through legal channels until he was finally convicted and sentenced last week.
She said that with hindsight, she could see that she and her mother were “groomed” into believing the conman’s stories were true.
“He was flash and he had a lifestyle that appeared to back up his claims that he was a successful investor,” she added.
“There was a web of sophisticated lies. Whether the money is all gone or whether some is hidden offshore, I still don’t know.”
Instead of investing the money, Kelly used it to impress much younger girlfriends.
He spent more than £4,000 on one partner’s 30th birthday and supported another’s acting career by spending £26,000 on her TV pilot.
On one occasion, he even spent £130,000 to cover a confiscation order for a drug conviction in Brighton Crown Court.
He also bought a £50,000 sports car, a £60,000 Land Rover and helped purchase his friend a vehicle with another £50,000.