Man pleads guilty to scamming Radlett couple in 80s to hand over £70,000
PUBLISHED: 16:54 23 April 2015 | UPDATED: 16:54 23 April 2015
A phone scammer has been locked up for three years after preying on an elderly married couple in their eighties and defrauding them out of tens of thousands of pounds.
On four occasions Redwan Hussain called at the octogenarians’ home in Radlett to collect bundles of money after duping them into believing the notes had to be checked for fingerprints by the police.
Today (Thursday) St Albans Crown Court was told that in the space of a week the 88 year old wife and her 85 year old husband were tricked into handing Hussain, part of a gang of phone scammers, over £70,000 of their savings.
Hussain, 20, of Pigott Street, Limehouse in East London, was eventually caught after police were tipped off by the couple’s bank.
Officers were waiting when he arrived at their home, hoping to collect a further £25,000.
Hussain pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to commit fraud by making a false representation.
Ann Evans, prosecuting, told how on November 27 last year a man pretending to be a police officer from Essex rang the couple and claimed a Barclays Bank employee had used their account to buy items and they needed to cancel their bank cards.
The next day the same man pretending to be a ‘PC Johnson’ rang the wife and said someone had been arrested.
He then claimed that the police needed to check bank notes for finger prints and fake currency and asked that £5,000 be withdrawn from their bank and someone would call round to collect the money which would be returned to them.
Mrs Evans told the court: “Sad to say she was completely taken in and withdrew the money out of the account which was collected later.”
However the couple’s bank was concerned about the money being withdrawn and called the police.
As a result an officer from Herts Police went to the couple’s home to speak to them.
Judge Marie Catterson was told that because the bogus officer had told the couple there needed to be “utmost secrecy,” they would not talk to the real officer about what was happening.
Instead they claimed they had withdrawn the money to give to their son for Christmas.
Mrs Evans said the gang was thus able in the days that followed to make more requests for money from the pair, and in the course of a week they lost more than £70,000.
The court was told that on December 5 last year the gang asked their elderly victims to withdraw £25,000.
Once more the bank tipped off the police who this time went to the couple’s home and gave them a dummy package to hand over to the caller.
Police then waited and saw a taxi arrive outside the couple’s home and the defendant get out of the back.
Moments later after calling at the front door of the couple’s home he was handed the package and promptly arrested.
In an interview all he would say was: “I am going to plead guilty, I know what I did was wrong.”
Mrs Evans said Hussain would not say who the other members of the gang were.
Judge Catterson was told his role had been that of a courier who had been paid £150 for each trip he was asked to make to the home of the couple and that he was full of remorse for what he had done.
Passing sentence the judge told Hussain: “This conspiracy involved significant planning and was sustained over a period of time and deliberately targeted victims on the basis of their vulnerability.”
She ordered he be detained in a young offenders institute for the next three years.