Terry and Elizabeth Fordham had reached the golden years of their life and after a few years of staring out of their garden and taking care of the flowers, the old couple was bored out of their guts. They decided to take the trip of a lifetime touring all over Europe, so they sold their house for some $300,000 and bought a motor home.
They then asked their daughter to take care of their finances and continue paying off their debt while they toured the European continent for a few years with the mobile home.
Three years into their trip, they were informed that their credit cards were all maxed out and noticed that their daughter, 33-year old Melissa Humphreys, didn’t pick up the phone any more.
In the end, they had to borrow money from friends to make it back to the UK and find out that their daughter had spent all their life savings. In a bitter parents-child court case that took them several years, their daughter has now been convicted of 14 charges of fraud, theft and obtaining property by deception.
The judge at Chelmsford Crown Court, Ms Patricia Lynch, said the parents had been left living in "virtual penury." When she addressed the daughter, she told her: "All they are left with is worry, concern and the pain of what you've done to them."
The spending started in 2006 and lasted until 2010. In the end, their own daughter had defrauded them out of $200,000 and left them penniless.
Mr Fordham tearfully stated that he had "worked all my life to earn money and then it was taken away by my own beloved daughter."
Defence attorney Mr Steven Levy tried to reason with the parents, saying the spending had been on "transient items" rather than lavish purchases, that Miss Humphreys had a personality disorder and was "extremely remorseful." "She knows that she has lost her family."