Two men have been jailed for a total of 12 years for defrauding an elderly woman out of nearly £40,000 of her life savings.
Our officers first became involved when Barclays bank staff called us on 23 October 2017 to say the victim, in her 70s, was attempting to transfer £71,000 from her savings into her current account.
Sadly, the woman had already been tricked into purchasing £38,000 worth of Rolex watches following a series of incidents, beginning with a knock at the door days earlier from a man offering ‘gardening services’.
That man was 56-year-old John Ward, of Benbow Crescent in Poole, Dorset.
The victim was visited at home a few days later by 22-year-old Francis Ward, from the Grays area of Essex. Next to no work was ever completed.
After she refused to pay, the victim was then bombarded with phone calls from a third man, who police identified as 32-year-old Noel Ward, of Seagry Hill, Sutton Benger, Wiltshire, requesting payment of up to £22,000..
Detective Inspector Andy Symes, of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “Noel Ward continually bombarded this elderly lady with phone calls, trying to wear her down into handing over cash to feed the Ward family’s greed.
“This case took an even more sinister turn when Noel Ward convinced the victim that his son was dying of Leukaemia, and that if the victim were to purchase high value Rolex watches to give to his son he would ‘call it quits’.
“After their initial success, Noel Ward had the audacity to call the victim back and tell her the watches were no good, and that she was required to buy more watches to the tune of £71,000.
“Thankfully, bank staff called us when the victim came in to make a transaction, and we took action.
“From our investigation it became clear that The Wards had been in contact with an 85-year-old man from Southsea in an effort to con him out of cash.
“John and Noel had visited this man on the 18 October 2017 and tried to convince him that he needed work done on his house. Fortunately he did not agree to any work.
“This was a very lengthy and complex investigation into an appalling series of incidents which left an elderly person feeling distraught. The determination and efforts of the officers involved in this case resulted in the Wards all being arrested and charged with offences.”
The Wards were all charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud, and conspiracy to convert criminal property.
John and Noel Ward admitted the offences on the first day of their trial at Southampton Crown Court.
Francis Ward was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud following a trial of facts, and was acquitted on the other counts.
Yesterday (Monday 4 March) at Southampton Crown Court, John and Noel were sentenced to six years in prison each and were also ordered to pay £37,800 back to the victim.
Sentencing for Francis Ward was adjourned.