Blind widow, 91, finally gets justice as conman who stole her £2.2million estate is jailed
- Credit: Archant
A 91-year-old widow who was swindled out of her home and more than £1million savings by a family friend says she feared she would die before seeing justice done after the fugitive conman was jailed for 10 years this week.
Pamela Schutzmann was duped into signing away her home, in Finchley Road, Hampstead, to Mogens Hauschildt, 72, who befriended the blind pensioner after marrying her former au pair.
The smooth-talking fraudster, who pretended to be a financial adviser, took advantage of Mrs Schutzmann’s poor eyesight by tricking her into signing a string of documents transferring her cash and property to him.
He then fled abroad in 2008 but was eventually arrested in January by police in Germany after a four-year manhunt.
Following his sentencing at Isleworth Crown Court to 10 years’ imprisonment on Monday, Mrs Schutzmann told the Ham&High she had feared she may never see the day that Danish-born Hauschildt would be made to pay for his crimes.
She said: “There were times when I didn’t think he would be brought to justice. I thought, ‘I’ll be dead before he’s ever caught’.
“I’m extremely relieved he’s under lock and key. I don’t feel anything about him. He just doesn’t exist to me now – he has been put away. I didn’t like it when he was floating around.”
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While on the run, Hauschildt was convicted in his absence of nine counts of fraud, money laundering and obtaining property by deception in January 2009.
Jurors heard during his trial that the fraud was only discovered when Mrs Schutzmann tried to leave her house to her children and learned that she no longer owned the property.
Instead it had been registered to Hauschildt’s Panama-based company, Spazi Properties.
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.
The grandmother won back the deeds to her £800,000 home last year after a lengthy legal battle and is now awaiting the start of confiscation proceedings to find out if she can recover any of the estimated £1million or more of life savings pilfered by Hauschildt.
She said Hauschildt, described as “oily” and a “name-dropper”, had left her impoverished and relying solely on her state pension and a small pension from her husband’s native Austria. “I just got the justice [I wanted],” she said.