December 12 2013 Latest news:
by Tom Marshall
Thursday, October 24, 2013
A fugitive conman who swindled a blind Hampstead widow out of her £2.2million estate could finally be sentenced next month after years on the run.
Danish-born Mogens Hauschildt was tracked down and arrested in Germany following a three-year manhunt that ended in January.
He fled the UK after duping family friend Pamela Schutzmann, of Finchley Road, out of her home and £1million savings, leaving her penniless, by pretending to be a financial adviser.
He was convicted of nine counts of fraud, money laundering and obtaining property by deception in his absence in January 2009.
Hauschildt, who is in his 70s, appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Friday and could be sentenced when he next appears before a judge on November 11.
The fraudster won his victim’s trust after marrying her former au pair, Romana Labunski, Southwark Crown Court heard.
He tricked Mrs Schutzmann, 91, into signing a string of documents transferring her cash and property to him.
His grip over her finances was so powerful that he was even able to access accounts set up by Mrs Schutzmann’s late husband, a Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Austria in the 1930s.
Judge Anna Guggenheim said: “The defence is contemplating inviting the court to make an interim hospital order for the purposes of assessment.
“I’m adjourning to November 11 on which occasion an application for an interim hospital order may be made.
“It may be the court will ultimately proceed to sentence on that day if the hospital order is not deemed appropriate.”
Sporting a full white beard and a ponytail, and wearing glasses and a dark jacket, Hauschildt spoke only to confirm his name and stared at the floor throughout the hearing.
He did not make eye contact with Mrs Schutzmann or her relatives, who were sitting in the public gallery.
Jurors heard during his trial that the fraud was only discovered when the victim tried to leave the house to her children and learned that she no longer owned the property.
Instead it had been registered to Hauschidlt’s Panama-based company, Spazi Properties.
He had taken advantage of Mrs Schutzmann’s blindness to get her to sign documents.
She told the trial in 2009: “I have to say that I am registered blind, I have macular degeneration.
“I haven’t been able to read documents for about four or five years, and have to get someone to read them for me.
“I went to my solicitors to draft a copy of my will in 2004, and they basically told me that I didn’t own my own property.”
Hauschildt’s stepson, Alexander, was cleared of involvement after being accused of helping to apply for a £300,000 mortgage on Mrs Schutzmann’s home.
Prosecutors offered no evidence against him after new documents came to light demonstrating he had not been at a crucial meeting with a solicitor during the mortgage application process.