Ten found guilty of fraud after conning vulnerable people in St Albans

A network of organised criminals committing fraud offences in excess of £310,000 has been unravelled

A network of organised criminals committing fraud offences in excess of £310,000 has been unravelled following an investigation by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU). - Credit: Archant

Ten people have been found guilty of fraud after targeting vulnerable people and fleecing them out of more than £310,000.

A network of organised criminals were found guilty of a number of fraud and money laundering offences involving a total of 34 victims, 2 of which live in St Albans.

They appeared at various courts earlier this year and are due to be sentenced this Friday (11) and on January 8.

They preyed on the elderly in particular and between October 2013 and September 2014 the fraudsters would approach home owners who were relatively secluded from neighbouring homes.

The criminals would tell them that their neighbour’s property had been flooded with raw sewage originating from under their property and they would need to hire specialist equipment to resolve the issue.

The victim would be forced to pay a deposit which would then be ‘refunded’.

Lead investigator DC Matt Wilson, from South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU)’S fraud team said: “Once they found someone that would give them money they repeatedly targeted them with a barrage of lies and deceit to extract further funds.

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“The people convicted have all admitted, or been convicted of, arranging these offences, or allowing their bank accounts to be used to receive and dissipate the funds from these crimes. Without these willing participants or others like them these offences could not occur.

“This should act as a deterrent to anyone else tempted to earn some extra money by turning a blind eye to these crime, we will investigate and bring them before the court.”

Homes in Surrey, Sussex, Stevenage, Devon and London were all targeted.

George Wickens Junior, 24, of Newhaven, George Wickens, 52, of Maresfield, Lee Farrington, 22, of Lewes, Angelia Wickens, 31, of Maresfield, James Cavanagh, 25, of Maresfield, Daryl Hayley, 23, of Faygate, Martin Jones, 26, of Crawley, Paul Bryson, 24, of Haywards Heath, Alfie Robinson, 23, of Burgess Hill, and Martin Suckling, 52, of Smallfield were all convicted of the offences between July and November in courts across the country.

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