Welwyn pensioner conned out of thousands of pounds

A JOBLESS taxi driver who conned a pensioner into parting with more than �7,000 will be spending Christmas behind bars.

Crooked Franco Forlenza duped 80-year-old Catherine Brunton from Welwyn into writing him a cheque for �7,300, which he subsequently used to clear his mortgage arrears.

And after being found guilty of fraud by false representation at St Albans Crown Court, the 47-year-old was remanded in custody until the new year by Judge Stephen Warner.

Forlenza, of Carnarvon Place, Bingham, Nottingham, will be sentenced on January 11.

During the trial, prosecutor Michael Speak described the defendant as being desperate to try and save his home from being repossessed.

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He added that 20 months after receiving the money, Forlenza still hadn’t paid Mrs Brunton back a single penny.

Mr Speak told jurors: “He deceived her into believing he was going to pay that money back when he knew perfectly well he was not going to do that.”

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The court was also told that in January 2009, when police first spoke to Forlenza, he described Mrs Brunton as a “wonderful and splendid lady” who had been prepared to help him.

In the witness box, Forlenza said that when Mrs Brunton gave him the cheque he was shocked.

He said: “To be honest I broke down in tears.

“I said ‘Thanks very much’ and said no matter what I will repay this’.

“It’s still my intention to pay her back.”

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