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Pensioner's life savings recouped by Enfield Council

Published Wednesday, 08 May 2013

Enfield Council's Trading Standards Team has returned £23,000 to an 81 year old man after a rogue trader conned him out of the money by telling him his home needed urgent repair work.

The man was cold called in November 2012 and told that the work needed to be done; he was originally told the bill would be £400 but it soon rose to £20,000. After the man had paid out £3,000 the rogue trader, who used a false company name A & N Damp Proofing Drainage Solutions Ltd, arranged for the victim to be driven to his bank, the Ponders End Barclays branch in November 2012 and transfer £20,000 into an account given by the trader.

Luckily, bank staff were suspicious and contacted the receiving bank who said the account holder was waiting to withdraw the transferred funds as cash. The payment was immediately frozen and the in house financial investigator at Enfield Council's Trading Standards Team used powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act to successfully applied to Wood Green Crown to ensure the money would not be transferred. The account holder a 24 year old student was traced and invited to interview.

During the interview he was told that the victim was an elderly man, and that his actions could be considered as money laundering with a 14 year prison sentence, he admitted allowing his account to be used by someone he met in a pub. Having realised the error of his ways he agreed to give his bank authority to return the money the victim.

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Chris Bond, said: "We work tirelessly to protect residents from rogue traders and I'm delighted in this case we were able to work with banks in this borough to prevent a massive and devastating fraud from being committed against an elderly and vulnerable gentleman.

"It is completely amoral for anyone to actively target our most vulnerable members of society and attempt to con them out of their live savings, our older residents deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and not considered as a readily accessible cash cow for con men and confidence tricksters.

"I'd strongly advise residents not to allow unknown people to access their bank accounts, you never know what sort of criminality you are supporting and you may well end up as a victim of crime yourself or worse than that spending a considerable length of time in prison."

The rogue trader has been arrested and interviewed pending further action.

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