AFTER receiving tip-offs from a number of people, including the family of an elderly British pensioner, officers of the Guardia Civil spent several weeks investigating what turned out to be an unregistered ‘care home’ in Alicante run by a British family.
Whilst it is generally accepted that there was no physical abuse of British pensioners who were persuaded to become residents, the Guardia Civil have arrested a British couple (both aged 59) and their daughter aged 25 charging them with fraud, criminal intrusion and belonging to a criminal organisation.
The basic scenario of the scam was for the daughter who worked near a pharmacy to keep an eye open for elderly British pensioners who were collecting medicine. She would engage them in conversation and ascertain whether they spoke Spanish and had any close relatives living with or near to them.
If they were lonely English speakers only, then she would try to persuade them to move into the ‘care home’ where they were charged between €2,500 and €3,000 per month, had any mobile phones confiscated and were encouraged to lodge all documentation, including deeds to properties, with the owners. After a while, they were then encouraged to name the owners of the home as their heirs.
On the odd occasion that the residents received a visit, they were supervised and the house was equipped with security cameras.
The officers found that the house, which had five rooms was almost always fully occupied and that some attempt had been made to make life more comfortable for residents such as the availability of articulated beds and other accessories such as disabled toilets but the home was not registered, care assistants were generally unqualified and costs were excessive.
Finally, one of the pensioners, after much encouragement from his family, not only left the house, but confirmed by way of a statement what was going on which resulted in the subsequent Guardia Civil visit.