‘I hope he realises the true cost of his wicked lies.’ Conman son-in-law swindled family out of £60,000

James White conned Derek and Martha Wales into £56,000 of debt and was sentenced to 2years this week.
Martha and Derek pictured at home
James White conned Derek and Martha Wales into £56,000 of debt and was sentenced to 2years this week. Martha and Derek pictured at home

A FAMILY have spoken about the betrayal of their conman son-in-law who swindled them out of £60,000 with a litany of lies.

Jim White was taken in by Derek and Martha Wales when he started dating their daughter, Mary.

But he abused the family’s kindness after inventing a story about enduring abuse as a child and suffering a brain injury as a result of his ordeal.

The fraudster spun an elaborate web of deceit, posing as a series of lawyers and court officials to convince the Wales he was due £46,000 compensation for two abuse claims.

Breaking their silence to reveal the full extent of his betrayal, the family told how White’s eldest daughter has been so sickened by his behaviour that she has changed her name.

As White, 36, begins a two-year jail sentence for fraud, his in-laws Derek and Martha say the conman got away with their money, but he has lost something far more precious – the love of his children and family.

Martha, 51, from Carntyne. Glasgow, who works in a florist’s, said: “His 17-year-old daughter Chloe has changed her name by deed poll to distance herself from him.

“And his 10-year-old daughter Keira is so heartbroken by what her father has done, she cries herself to sleep.

“White smirked in court because he thought he’d got off lightly.

“But he’s lost something you can’t put a price on – the wife and two daughters who idolised him and the family who loved him as one of their own.”

Her husband Derek, 53, a delivery man, said: “As he sits in jail, I hope he realises the true cost of his wicked lies.”

The devoted couple opened their home and their hearts to the liar who claimed he had been sexually abused as a child by a member of his own family.

White cynically used his wife Mary’s hearing difficulties to con the family into believing he needed lifesaving surgery for a brain injury.

Mary’s father Derek said: “White was 16 when he and our daughter first met, and because she loved him so much we treated him like a son.

“He repaid that trust by frightening Mary into believing he might die if he didn’t get brain surgery.

“He claimed as well as being sexually abused as a child, he’d also been physically abused and as a result bone fragments were pressing on his brain.

“He told Mary he could die or go blind and got her to rush him to hospital several times, only to claim his appointment had been cancelled at the last moment.

“Because Mary couldn’t hear his phone going, he repeatedly conned her. She was frantic he might die.”

Over a five-year period, between 2011 and 2015, White juggled phones to send text messages to dupe his in-laws into giving him more than £56,000.

Derek said: “He pretended he was bankrupt through no fault of his own and needed to pay thousands in legal fees, travel and lie detector tests to win the cases.”

The conman insisted the cases, supposedly in England, would mean he could repay his in-laws.

The unsuspecting family were inundated with fake text messages.

Derek said: “We were getting messages warning if fees weren’t paid, compensation wouldn’t be forthcoming.

“Of course we kept taking out loan after loan. We felt desperately sorry for our son-in-law.

“I even tried to get him to talk about what had happened to him because I thought it might help him, but he always brushed off any questions, saying he was too upset.

“You can’t conceive of someone making up such awful lies, especially someone you’d thought of as a son.”

Frantic about how they could repay the loans, the family sought out money advisers who told them to see a lawyer.

Derek said: “While I was sitting in the lawyer’s office, a text arrived supposedly from Jim Friel, who was apparently a solicitor connected to White’s case, and I let our lawyer see it.

“The lawyer said Jim Friel was long dead, so the message couldn’t be genuine.”

The shattered couple went to the police, and had to bite their tongue for several months while fraud officers investigated. Derek said: “It was awful, knowing he was lying but unable to say anything until the police got the evidence they needed.

“Martha and I were bankrupted and would have lost our home if it hadn’t been rented.

“Poor Mary has been in a terrible state, blaming herself for bringing White into our lives.”

Last week, Derek and Martha watched as White was sentenced to two years at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Martha said: “I don’t believe he feels a single moment of remorse.”

But Derek said: “White might think he’s got off lightly, but in court even his own family turned their backs on him and told him he needed professional help.

“I doubt his daughters will ever forgive him. Our family won’t.

“The sad thing is, he didn’t even have to do what he did.

“If he’d genuinely been in trouble, we would’ve helped him. He didn’t need to tell lies.

“I even helped get him a taxi licence so he could earn a good wage for his family. He has nothing to show for what he did because we suspect he wasted the money he took on gambling. He was always at the bookies or doing online betting.”

The Wales family say they received huge support from the police and Crown Office officials as they sought justice.

Derek said: “We would like to pay tribute to the police who worked so hard to get the evidence they needed and to Richard Hill who presented the case.

“Because of their dedication and hard work, White was convicted and sent to jail where he belongs.”

Police Scotland said: “Fraud can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on people, not only on their financial well-being now and in the future, but also emotionally and physically.

“Sometimes people may find it embarrassing to let others know they have been tricked out of money. However, we would encourage anyone who has been a victim of financial fraud to contact police.”