‘Pay back’ for family of woman, 80, conned out of her home by ‘rogue builders’.
After 12 years, one of four men who conned a pensioner out of her home has been ordered to turn over assets to the value of £301,000.
The Metropolitan Police say the elderly woman who lived in north London, was targeted by ‘rogue builders’ who claimed she needed lots of work doing to her house back in 2008.
The pensioner was unable to afford the work, and a man was introduced to her as someone who could purchase her house and complete the works, whilst allowing the victim to continue living at the premises.
The victim was taken to a solicitor, “who did not act in her best interests”, and the house was subsequently sold to this man for less than a third of its market value, said the Met Police in a statement.
“Samuel Smith then targeted the victim, falsely informing her that the property needed underpinning and defrauding the victim out of a further £28,500. He subsequently returned to the property and defrauded her out of another £8,500.”
In 2013, the victim was further defrauded when she was told that she could re-purchase the property, forcing her to ask an elderly friend to help finance the deal.
Police subsequently became aware of the offences and an investigation was launched that resulted in the conviction of Smith and three other men for their role in the crimes.
Smith, 42, from Reading pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation and in June 2018, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Three other defendants were also sentenced to terms of imprisonment.
Sadly, the elderly victim passed away in July 2018.
However, police were determined to recover as much of the money as possible for the victim’s family and action was taken under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Following prolonged confiscation proceedings, a confiscation order was granted at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, October 2.
The court found that Smith had benefited from general criminal conduct to the value of £725,638.83.
Available assets of £301,000 were identified as belonging to Smith.
The court has ordered Smith to make the payment within three months, if he defaults he will face a further four years in prison.
Detective Constable Rob Enderby, of the Met’s Central Specialist Crime, said: “Targeting elderly victims and exploiting their vulnerabilities is a vile crime. As part of the guilty plea in the original case, one of the defendants agreed to sign the house back over to the victim, therefore returning the title to her name. ”
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