Fraudster jailed after targeting elderly victims
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A fraudster has been jailed for his part in a scam targeting elderly victims.
Albino Chaves admitted nine counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and three of conspiracy to defraud.
He was jailed at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday 27 October for two years and four months.
Chaves, 24, was involved a series of frauds in March and April this year, when conmen contacted elderly victims claiming to be from their bank.
In each case, they said the victim would be receiving a new bank card and a courier would go to their home to exchange their old card for a new one. Sometimes they were also offered gift vouchers for the exchange.
Chaves was arrested on 14 April after being identified through CCTV and forensic evidence as the courier. He was released on bail with conditions not to enter Essex, while we continued further enquiries.
On 23 April, a woman in Frinton was called in the same way as the victims in the other frauds. But after speaking with her daughter, she was worried it was a scam.
The fraudster rang a few hours later saying a courier would arrive within a few minutes. She explained it was not convenient but he persisted. She hung up and called police.
Officers attended and waited for the courier to arrive. During that time, another victim from Frinton called to report a courier had collected her bank card.
While officers were responding to both these incidents, they stopped a black Mercedes in Thorpe-le-Soken after they noticed it driving around the area and became suspicious.
Chaves was one of the men inside. His mobile phone was seized and they found messages talking about both fraud victims.
Chaves, of Bentry Road, Dagenham, was charged with a number of offences on 25 April, and later charged with further offences earlier this month.
Detective Constable Hollie Hughes, of Clacton CID, said: These were really callous and distressing crimes targeting victims aged in their 70s to 90s.
The fraudsters were very persuasive, and claimed they were collecting cards from their victim’s homes due to the national restrictions on movement that were in place due to coronavirus.
The judge heard Chaves was part of a planned and targeted fraud, with victims losing between £300 and £4,000 each.
He had no regard for the distress it would cause his victims and I hope that this sentence will give them some justice.
The frauds took place across north Essex, as well as Epping and Sudbury.
DC Hughes said: Fraudsters will take advantage of any situation and will be very persuasive, so I ask people to please remain vigilant.
Your bank will never ask you send your bank cards, money or other personal property, via a courier, taxi or other means.
They will also never ask for your bank account details or PIN over the phone, so please don’t disclose these to anyone.
Challenge anyone who asks you for this – a genuine caller will not mind. If you are suspicious the caller is not genuine, end the phone call. Wait at least five minutes to ring your bank to check with them the validity of the call, or use another phone, as fraudsters can wait on the line.
Report any suspicious calls to us so we can investigate.
Call 101 or report online at https://www.essex.police.uk
Alternatively, contact the Crimestoppers charity 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org