The “Devil’s Advocate” is jailed for 14 years
Bogus lawyer Giovanni di Stefano was jailed for 14 years yesterday after being found guilty of nine counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, eight counts of fraud, three counts of acquiring criminal property, two counts of using a false instrument, one count of attempting to obtain a money transfer by deception, one count of obtaining property by deception and one count of using criminal property.
A “planned and persistent” offender, di Stefano came to public attention when he represented and was involved with such people as convicted paedophile Jonathan King, serial killer Dr Harold Shipman and timeshare fraudster John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer. Despite having no legal training, he managed to overturn the manslaughter conviction of the controversial property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten in 2002 and got him released from prison and also boasted of his associations with killers such as Jeremy Bamber, Kenneth Noye and Linda Calvey.
Di Stefano’s victims, though, were not amongst this number. Instead, they were people in dire straits such as a disabled man seeking damages for the loss of his arm. Of di Stefano, Judge Alistair McCreath, the Recorder of Westminster, stated:
“Your victims in this case were all desperate people and people who, because of their desperation, were vulnerable… It is also about something different and great – it is about the real distress you caused to so many people… You had no regard for them nor for their anguish… Your only concern was to line your own pockets”.
They often say: “It’s the nice guy who comes last”. In the case of Mr di Stefano, thankfully for once this has been proved untrue. His sentence is well and truly deserved.