An elderly couple who were robbed of their life savings in a cruel roofing scam earlier this month had their money returned to them on Friday.
Earlier this month, the 93-year-old man and his 91-year-old wife were tricked into paying a gang of conmen for roof repairs on their property in Sydney that were never carried out.
According to the New South Wales Police, the scammers led the couple to believe their home’s roof had cracks that needed to be fixed. They then pretended to repair the ceiling and watched on as the woman retrieved money to pay them.
The following day the group of men returned to steal a cash tin which contained the couple’s savings of tens of thousands of dollars.
After thorough investigations, Strike Force Vennard detectives from the Burwood Police Area Command tracked down a man believed to be the group’s ring leader. A deal was struck with the scammer in relation to his sentencing and the man agreed to hand over the elderly couple’s hand earned cash.
“Police arrested a 38-year-old British national, an alleged principal in the scamming operation, and he was later jailed by the Parramatta District Court for at least a year for ‘dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception’,” NSW Police said in a statement on Facebook.
“The thief agreed to hand back the money as part of his sentence and today the investigators returned those savings back to the couple in the form of a cheque. The offender will be deported back to the United Kingdom upon the expiration of his jail sentence.”
NSW Police took to social media on Friday to share the good news, along with a happy snap of the couple receiving their money. The post received a lot of praise from the community who commended the officers for their hard work in finding the culprit.
“Fantastic outcome, congrats to all the task force involved,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“Thank you for your outstanding performance,” another commented.
Sadly the couple aren’t the only ones who have been tricked by scammers posing as tradesmen. Earlier this year a vulnerable woman revealed her agony after losing $156,000 of her life savings to cruel scammers.
Meredith Cooper, 78. admitted back in January how ashamed she felt for falling for the con which, like many similar ones across the country, saw a group of men knock on her door in Sydney following a horrific storm and convince her that she needed extensive, and expensive, home repairs.
Appearing on Channel 9’s A Current Affair, she explained the men – who were led by a man calling himself ‘John’ – claimed her roof was flooded “like a swimming pool” following the wild weather, needing urgent repairs.
A group of smooth-talking, heartless conmen are targeting the elderly, after storms caused damage to homes around the country. #9ACA l WATCH THE FULL STORY: https://t.co/dmnVHqTJVL pic.twitter.com/sTsQ3D31kP
— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) January 10, 2019
Trusting the men, Mrs Cooper slowly began making withdrawals from her bank account over the next two weeks – with the final amount totalling $156,000.
“I feel like an absolute idiot. I’m very ashamed, I’m very embarrassed and it’s affected me very, very badly,” she admitted as she became emotional on camera.
It came at the worst possible time for the worried woman, as she found out her elderly husband had been diagnosed with terminal cancer – making her his full-time carer. She said that the personal blow had made her feel vulnerable, and meant her mind has been elsewhere.
“This ‘John’ was a very good talker and I said with the worry with my husband, I wasn’t thinking very clearly, because usually I’m pretty canny about this kind of thing, but not this time. No way,” she said.