Indian-origin conman gets 3-year jail for ‘preying’ on elderly in UK

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Mar 17, 2016 16:12 IST

A Birmingham-based man who conned several people by narrating fake stories of illness and shortage of funds to travel to India for medical treatment has been jailed for 37 months.

Gurtake Singh, 37, took money ranging from 20 to 350 pounds from several people between June and October last year, the West Midlands police said. The unemployed man reportedly drove pensioners – including an 80-year-old man – to cash points on at least two occasions when they told him that they were short of money.

Singh admitted to 11 counts of fraud, plus one charge of theft, and was jailed for 37 months by the Birmingham Crown Court this week. He was also ordered to pay back £1,552 compensation to his victims, and was made the subject of a criminal behaviour order that bans him from cold-calling addresses and asking people on the street for cash.

Detective constable Estelle Albutt, the investigating officer, said: “Singh would knock on doors in a panicked state, sometimes crying, in order to gain entry… once inside, he would tell stories of relatives being rushed to the hospital and that he desperately needed taxi money to visit them.”

Albutt said the accused would claim to be locked out of his house, or that a cash point had swallowed his bank card. “Singh would promise to return the money the following day. His victims described him as friendly and charming, even kissing them on the cheek and accepting drinks while engaging them in conversation. He was very plausible and preyed on elderly, trusting residents… he showed no remorse for the people he conned,” the officer added.

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