A FARNHAM man has attacked the sentence handed out to his brother, who plundered £1.8m of their elderly mother's fortune to fund a Champagne lifestyle. IT manager Paul Hodson spoke to the press outside Bristol Crown Court last Friday after his younger brother Mark Hodson, 39, of Crewkerne, Somerset, was jailed for 30 months. The adopted son of Ruby Hodson, the wealthy widow of a senior HSBC executive, Mark Hodson admitted 10 specimen charges of theft, two counts of concealing property in bankruptcy and one of obtaining a money transfer by deception. "That is not justice," said Paul Hudson. He said Mark and his wife Kim, who have two children, had stripped his mother of her money, her assets, her family relationships, health and self esteem, leaving her "a broken woman". Ruby Hodson died, aged 77, in May 2006, having been released into the care of Paul Hodson. He said that the greedy pair had taken far more than they were charged with. He was particularly angry that Kim Hodson, 35, who is separated from Mark and lives in Wellington, Somerset, and works in a barber's shop, had "effectively got away with it". She was ordered to do 120 hours community service after pleading guilty to obtaining a money order by deception, relating to a £150,000 mortgage she took out on a house signed to her from her mother-in-law. The criminal case followed a High Court action by Paul Hodson in November 2006, when he sued Mark and Kim, recovering £900,000. However, the costs of the case exceeded £500,000. Paul Hodson, whose address was given as Frensham Road, Lower Bourne, claimed his brother had brought undue influence on his mother in order to sytematically defraud her. Mrs Hodson was persuaded to move from Sussex to live with the couple in Somerset, in a £600,000 country home paid for with her money. At first the house was in the joint names of herself and Kim, but the following year, it was transferred into Kim's sole name. The widow was suffering from a mental decline and, although a millionaire, had no idea that she owned anything at all. Mark Hodson was given power of attorney and In a period of three years after she was widowed, payments in excess of £900,000 were made out of Ruby Hodson's bank account, used, Paul Hodson believed, to fuel his sister-in-law's demands for a lavish lifestyle. Items bought, apparently by the elderly widow, included a £195,000 powerboat, a £65,000 Porsche, a £19,000 ski boat and a £10,000 hot- tub. Mark Hudson, it was claimed, convinced his adoptive mother to spend the money or forged her cheques. The extent to which the old lady had been defrauded came to light after Mark Hodson was declared bankrupt in July 2004. The bankruptcy allowed Paul Hodson to gain access to their mother's bank accounts, at which point he said he fully realised "the shocking extent to which my mother's accounts and assets had been plundered". Then on Boxing Day 2004 Mark Hodson left his wife for his mistress, causing her to take revenge by making accusations of his financial wrongdoings to the police. Following the High Court case brought by Paul Hodson, liquidators sold two buy-to-let properties in Torquay, a barn development in Ilminster, Somerset, and the family home that had been bought with Ruby Hodson's money. The assets totalled just over £900,000, but costs of the hearing left the estate with about £400,000.
Fraudster jailed for swindling mother
Friday 11th January 2008 12:00 am