‘Callous’ fraudster jailed after targeting elderly

Police car
Police car

A serial fraudster who went on a spending spree after targeting elderly people in Harrogate has been jailed for 27 months.

Daniel Fox, 25, conned several pensioners aged 78 to 95, claiming he was investigating fraud on their accounts.

Fox - working with others - called the victims pretending to be a bank or utilities worker and saying there was a problem on their accounts to get access to their bank cards.

Three of his five victims fell for the fraud and were defrauded of a combined £8,370.

Fox, from Windsor St, Coventry, was eventually snared by police and charged with fraud. He appeared for sentence at York Crown Court last Wednesday after admitting the offence.

Prosecutor Camille Morland said Fox had worked in tandem with fellow fraudster Kelly Marie Gleeson, 32, from Coventry, who was described as the “mastermind” behind the cruel deception.

She added that Fox had admitted conning five pensioners between June 1 and August 1 last year, but denied any involvement in other frauds which were part of a wider scam led by Gleeson in other parts of the country.

One of the victims, 81-year-old Robert Adams, from Harrogate, was conned out of £3,000 after he was called five times on June 19, and told potential fraud on his account was being investigated.

A second victim, 95-year-old Harrogate woman Constant Edwards, was told there was a problem with her BT account. About £300 was swiped from her account.

The third victim, 78-year-old Shirley Taylor, was persuaded to leave her bank card in her letterbox. The card was used to buy £4,560 worth of Rolex jewellery, with more than £2,000 withdrawn from other accounts, and attempts made to buy £10,000 of euros.

Fox pestered pensioner Elizabeth Stevens, with 35 phone calls, and the fifth victim, a 79-year-old woman, gave Fox short shrift when he told her there was a problem with her bank account.

The court heard that Fox had previous convictions for violence and theft. His defence counsel said he had come under pressure from others including Gleeson, who was jailed for five years at a previous court hearing.

Recorder Mr J.M. Hill said the defendant had deliberately targeted elderly people because they were seen as “easy pickings”, adding: “These men and women belong to a generation rather more trusting of officialdom than various others today. They are very proud people and they feel very badly about the tricks that you and others played upon them.”

DC Jane Lang-Burns of Harrogate CID, speaking after the sentencing, said: “Targeting elderly and vulnerable people in this way is truly despicable. Gleeson and Fox’s crimes were cowardly and cruel and took advantage of older peoples’ trusting nature.

“Thankfully the victims have had their money refunded by their banks, but that is no compensation for the distress and worry caused to them at a time in their lives when they should be allowed to live in peace and security.

“I hope Gleeson and Fox take time to reflect on their appalling crimes, they now have ample time to do so from their prison cell.”