Cruel con-man scams OAP out of life savings

by Sylvia Pownall
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PENSIONERS have been warned to be careful after an “exceptionally vulnerable” woman was conned out of her €90,000 life savings.
A Clondalkin man involved in the scam which left the woman, a psychiatric out patient, with just €93 in her bank account was jailed for three years for deception.
The Circuit Criminal Court heard that Michael O’Brien, 24, of Old Castle Drive was not the main orchestrator of the fraud and took orders from a “boss man” he refused to name to gardai.
In a separate case a Clondalkin man who persuaded an OAP to pay him €3,570 for unnecessary roof repairs was ordered to pay the money back.
Age Action Ireland spokesman Justin Moran told The Gazette: “Your heart goes out to people who’ve been treated in this way and targeted by unscrupulous individuals. We would urge people to be careful.”
Mr Moran, head of advocacy with AAI, added: “Scams and frauds targeting elderly people are a real problem in this country. We advise people always to ask for ID and references. Age Action Ireland can recommend trusted tradespeople.”
Michael O’Brien, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to four sample charges of deception on dates between October 2015 and November 2015.
The woman, who was acting as a carer for her 95-year-old mother and was being treated as an outpatient in the psychiatric ward of St James’s Hospital, went to gardai in a distressed state in December 2015. She said a man called to her home and said she needed to have her driveway re-paved or the postman would trip and sue her – costing €7,500.
The same man suggested he paint her house after telling her that it was “going to fall down….”. She paid €1,500 for this but the work was never completed.
Some time later the woman received a call from a person purporting to be an accountant who said he had heard she’d been scammed by a group of travellers and he could help get her money back.
The caller told her if she paid him in instalments of €5,000 he would get her “a big cheque for €76,000”.
She regularly withdrew €5,000 and handed it over until she had just €93 left.
Separately, Judge Miriam Walsh ordered a man who conned an OAP for unnecessary roof repairs to pay back all the money.
Charles O’Brien, 37, with an address at Rosebank Place, Clondalkin, has paid back €2,000 of €3,570 he took from a pensioner at Cappaghmore estate, Clondalkin in March 2016. His case was adjourned to May for him to raise the balance, and for sentencing.

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