Fraudster tries to swindle OLHI over £ 75,000 in life savings | United Kingdom | New
Michael O’Neill initially claimed to be a builder, claiming that vital work was to be done at the victim’s home in February 2020. When the victim began to suspect a scam and spoke to his neighbor, O’Neill then posed as a police officer and claimed he was investigating the builders.
At this point, the scammer was able to convince OLHI that he had to pay the legal costs as well as the compensation costs.
O’Neill’s initial scam saw the victim lose £ 2,250 to bogus ‘builders’ who claimed work was needed on the front of his house.
He then demanded an additional £ 600, which the victim refused to pay and left him so worried he spoke to his neighbor – who called the police.
Weeks later, O’Neill visited the victim and asked for £ 15,000 to cover the costs of an alleged court case involving the builders, which the victim paid by check.
The old man was also told he would be entitled to £ 151,000 in compensation but first had to pay £ 75,000 by debit card in court.
The victim then arranged a meeting with O’Neill in Hatton Garden in central London to finalize the transaction, where the scammer directed the man to a watch store to make the fraudulent payment in “court “- asking him to say he was buying two Rolex watches if asked.
When both payments on the victim’s cards were declined, he was advised to go to his bank to resolve the issue.
Staff at the local bank were skeptical of the circumstances surrounding the payment, which led them to contact the police.
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City of London Police officers quickly circulated a description of the suspect, resulting in O’Neill’s arrest around an hour after the victim first entered the bank.
O’Neill, of Dartford, Kent, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, suspended for two years, given a 30 day rehab activity requirement and ordered to pay £ 1,000 within three months, for conspiracy to commit fraud by misrepresentation at Inner London Crown Court on July 14.
Detective Constable Phillip Wilkes, City of London Police CID, said: ‘This was a complex and compelling scam, allegedly orchestrated by a number of fraudsters who preyed on an elderly victim and sick.
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“Thanks to the eagle-eyed staff at NatWest who noticed a suspicious transaction and the concerned neighbor who reported the original case to the police, O’Neill was brought to justice.
“This case demonstrates that while there are bad apples in society seeking to exploit the vulnerable, there are still many caring people ready to look out for each other and help the police protect them. most vulnerable members of our community against crime. “