A Hampshire pensioner was conned out of £140,000 by a gang of fraudsters

Southampton Crown Court

Southampton Crown Court

First published in New Forest Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Court Reporter

A HAMPSHIRE pensioner has been ruthlessly conned out of his £140,000 life savings by a gang of fraudsters.

Posing as Trading Standards officers, they convinced the vulnerable 78-year-old that shoddy repairs had been carried out on his home and tricked him into handing over his money to help fight his case.

But it was not until the pensioner contacted the organisation himself, to find out the progress in his case, that he discovered he had been cruelly duped.

The gang has never been caught despite an extensive police investigation to trace those responsible.

However, 57-year-old Colin Edwards is today behind bars for his role in the con, having admitted laundering the stolen money through his own bank account.

Southampton Crown Court heard how the money was traced back to Edwards bank account by police who arrested him five months after £100,000 had been put in to his account.

During interview, Edwards told detectives he had been approached by a man called Richard Wilson, who he claimed had previously done work on his drive, who wanted to deposit a sum of cash in his account because he did not have a bank account himself.

Withdrawal He claimed Wilson told him that money totalled £25,000 for work he had done on the Olympic Village for the 2012 Games.

However, Edwards told officers that when he checked his statement he discovered £100,000 had been deposited and he feared it had come from crime.

The court heard he withdrew £90,000 in cash for the fraudsters within five days and claimed he and his family were threatened with violence if he did not cooperate.

Prosecutor Daniel Sawyer, who stressed Edwards had not been involved in the original fraud, said: “He said he didn’t contact the police because he was afraid to do so.

“Extensive efforts have been made to trace those people but they have failed.”

In mitigation, Georgina Gibbs described Edwards as a person who would do anything for anyone and was ‘overtly trusting’.

She said: “When he saw the £100,000 in his account, he realised something was wrong. He is very sorry and knows he made the wrong decision. He should have gone to the police or refused to cooperate.”

Jailing Edwards, of Northampton, Judge Peter Henry described the fraud as “unpleasant and sophisticated” with enormous repercussions for the victim.

He told him: “You took a risk where this money had come from and it had come from this elderly and vulnerable man.”

After the case, Det Con Bob Rees said it was “a serious and well planned fraud”.

He said: “The victim has lost a considerable amount of his savings and has been left with little more than a roof over his head and his pension.

“He has shown considerable courage in reporting the matter which undoubtedly has had a serious affect on him.”

Comments (14)

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11:08am Sat 2 Aug 14

Huey says...

When'll they learn, eh.
NEVER
When'll they learn, eh. NEVER Huey
  • Score: -7

11:19am Sat 2 Aug 14

OSPREYSAINT says...

Richard Wilson? I don't believe it!
Richard Wilson? I don't believe it! OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 8

11:25am Sat 2 Aug 14

Tallship says...

It's disgusting how people like this pray on the vulnerable people in society.
It's disgusting how people like this pray on the vulnerable people in society. Tallship
  • Score: 6

12:58pm Sat 2 Aug 14

solomum says...

Huey wrote:
When'll they learn, eh.
NEVER
Some of the scams are so sophisticated these days, it would take someone who is very on the ball to realise it is not genuine. I hope you never fall victim yourself and I pray that they find the gang responsible. This poor guy will have worked hard all his life to accumulate these savings, just for thieving scum to come along and take it from him. I hope the victim is able to get over this awful crime.
[quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: When'll they learn, eh. NEVER[/p][/quote]Some of the scams are so sophisticated these days, it would take someone who is very on the ball to realise it is not genuine. I hope you never fall victim yourself and I pray that they find the gang responsible. This poor guy will have worked hard all his life to accumulate these savings, just for thieving scum to come along and take it from him. I hope the victim is able to get over this awful crime. solomum
  • Score: 11

3:01pm Sat 2 Aug 14

Dai Rear says...

An appropriate sentence would be 5 years initially, all to be served, followed by another 5 if he fails to deliver the conmen, something we all know darned well he could do if he was "motivated"
An appropriate sentence would be 5 years initially, all to be served, followed by another 5 if he fails to deliver the conmen, something we all know darned well he could do if he was "motivated" Dai Rear
  • Score: 3

3:02pm Sat 2 Aug 14

marieb says...

solomum wrote:
Huey wrote:
When'll they learn, eh.
NEVER
Some of the scams are so sophisticated these days, it would take someone who is very on the ball to realise it is not genuine. I hope you never fall victim yourself and I pray that they find the gang responsible. This poor guy will have worked hard all his life to accumulate these savings, just for thieving scum to come along and take it from him. I hope the victim is able to get over this awful crime.
I agree solomum these very elderly people were brought up in a society of trustworthiness and this is how he has been tricked .Scams were virtually unheard of on the scale we have today . Huey you will be old and vulnerable one day I hope you don't fall prey to scams, also the world will be an even nastier world than it is today, rather you than me
[quote][p][bold]solomum[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: When'll they learn, eh. NEVER[/p][/quote]Some of the scams are so sophisticated these days, it would take someone who is very on the ball to realise it is not genuine. I hope you never fall victim yourself and I pray that they find the gang responsible. This poor guy will have worked hard all his life to accumulate these savings, just for thieving scum to come along and take it from him. I hope the victim is able to get over this awful crime.[/p][/quote]I agree solomum these very elderly people were brought up in a society of trustworthiness and this is how he has been tricked .Scams were virtually unheard of on the scale we have today . Huey you will be old and vulnerable one day I hope you don't fall prey to scams, also the world will be an even nastier world than it is today, rather you than me marieb
  • Score: 5

3:02pm Sat 2 Aug 14

Dai Rear says...

Harsh? No, garbage like this couldn't run their scams without useful idiots like this to take the money in.
Harsh? No, garbage like this couldn't run their scams without useful idiots like this to take the money in. Dai Rear
  • Score: -5

6:25pm Sat 2 Aug 14

sparkster says...

May I make a suggestion to any elderly folk reading this. Keep the chain (if you have one) on on the front door and keep back door locked, if anyone you dont know calls trying to sell anything open front door keeping chain on, ask the caller for ID if they dont have any ID close the front door, if they do have ID tell the caller you are going to ring the firm to check the company employs that person, if they dont, shut the front door. The reason I suggest the back door is locked is that some travel around in gangs, whilst one person is distracting you at the front door another gang member can enter via the back door, go upstairs and take things and leave again via the back door and you wont know until its too late. I hope these suggestions will prove helpful
May I make a suggestion to any elderly folk reading this. Keep the chain (if you have one) on on the front door and keep back door locked, if anyone you dont know calls trying to sell anything open front door keeping chain on, ask the caller for ID if they dont have any ID close the front door, if they do have ID tell the caller you are going to ring the firm to check the company employs that person, if they dont, shut the front door. The reason I suggest the back door is locked is that some travel around in gangs, whilst one person is distracting you at the front door another gang member can enter via the back door, go upstairs and take things and leave again via the back door and you wont know until its too late. I hope these suggestions will prove helpful sparkster
  • Score: 5

8:21pm Sat 2 Aug 14

eurogordi says...

I thought pensioners were meant to be poor?
I thought pensioners were meant to be poor? eurogordi
  • Score: -8

8:44pm Sat 2 Aug 14

sparkster says...

if you read the article I think it was the poor man's life savings, its still no excuse for anyone to con him. As for "when will they learn" you dont have to be elderly to be conned it happens to younger ones as well. He may have had the money in the house to pay for something or give to a relative, either way its disgusting . I hope they do catch the scum
if you read the article I think it was the poor man's life savings, its still no excuse for anyone to con him. As for "when will they learn" you dont have to be elderly to be conned it happens to younger ones as well. He may have had the money in the house to pay for something or give to a relative, either way its disgusting . I hope they do catch the scum sparkster
  • Score: 1

8:51pm Sat 2 Aug 14

OSPREYSAINT says...

eurogordi wrote:
I thought pensioners were meant to be poor?
We aren't meant to be poor, just the fact that most of us are, makes it look that way.
[quote][p][bold]eurogordi[/bold] wrote: I thought pensioners were meant to be poor?[/p][/quote]We aren't meant to be poor, just the fact that most of us are, makes it look that way. OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 1

11:48am Sun 3 Aug 14

Matt99 says...

As frequently happens, when reporting court cases, the Echo has once again not stated the length of prison sentence given to Colin Edwards.
As frequently happens, when reporting court cases, the Echo has once again not stated the length of prison sentence given to Colin Edwards. Matt99
  • Score: 0

6:22pm Sun 3 Aug 14

Huey says...

marieb wrote:
solomum wrote:
Huey wrote:
When'll they learn, eh.
NEVER
Some of the scams are so sophisticated these days, it would take someone who is very on the ball to realise it is not genuine. I hope you never fall victim yourself and I pray that they find the gang responsible. This poor guy will have worked hard all his life to accumulate these savings, just for thieving scum to come along and take it from him. I hope the victim is able to get over this awful crime.
I agree solomum these very elderly people were brought up in a society of trustworthiness and this is how he has been tricked .Scams were virtually unheard of on the scale we have today . Huey you will be old and vulnerable one day I hope you don't fall prey to scams, also the world will be an even nastier world than it is today, rather you than me
I am already old.
But I will never be vulnerable.
My bull terrier and inherent suspicion of strangers puts most people off.
Plus I live in a quiet village.
[quote][p][bold]marieb[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]solomum[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: When'll they learn, eh. NEVER[/p][/quote]Some of the scams are so sophisticated these days, it would take someone who is very on the ball to realise it is not genuine. I hope you never fall victim yourself and I pray that they find the gang responsible. This poor guy will have worked hard all his life to accumulate these savings, just for thieving scum to come along and take it from him. I hope the victim is able to get over this awful crime.[/p][/quote]I agree solomum these very elderly people were brought up in a society of trustworthiness and this is how he has been tricked .Scams were virtually unheard of on the scale we have today . Huey you will be old and vulnerable one day I hope you don't fall prey to scams, also the world will be an even nastier world than it is today, rather you than me[/p][/quote]I am already old. But I will never be vulnerable. My bull terrier and inherent suspicion of strangers puts most people off. Plus I live in a quiet village. Huey
  • Score: 1

7:13pm Sun 3 Aug 14

sass says...

sparkster wrote:
if you read the article I think it was the poor man's life savings, its still no excuse for anyone to con him. As for "when will they learn" you dont have to be elderly to be conned it happens to younger ones as well. He may have had the money in the house to pay for something or give to a relative, either way its disgusting . I hope they do catch the scum
He didn't have cash in the house. Read the article again.
[quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: if you read the article I think it was the poor man's life savings, its still no excuse for anyone to con him. As for "when will they learn" you dont have to be elderly to be conned it happens to younger ones as well. He may have had the money in the house to pay for something or give to a relative, either way its disgusting . I hope they do catch the scum[/p][/quote]He didn't have cash in the house. Read the article again. sass
  • Score: 1

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