Cruel fraudster posing as cop cons victim out of ?9240 in cash
A Derbyshire man in his 80s was duped into handing over thousands of pounds in cash by fraudsters posing as police officers. Derby Crown Court heard how the victim was called by the criminals who told him there had been fraudulent activity on his bank account and that he needed to withdraw money from his account and hand it to an officer who would come to his address and examine it as part of an investigation.
That “officer” was dad-of-one Ezekiel Gilbert Smith who arrived at the pensioner’s home and took a package containing £9,240 from him and drove it to the gang in London. Handing the 26-year-old a three-month prison term, suspended for 18 months, Recorder Collingwood Thompson KC said: “The offence itself is serious because it is what is termed a ‘courier fraud’ and that is a fraud specifically aimed at elderly people.
“It preys on their trusting nature and therefore requires some careful organisation. You were the courier who took the package back to London and the jury rejected your defence that you were an innocent dupe who did not know what was going on. This was a carefully planned offence but your role was simply to pick up the money and return it to London.”
Sarah Allen, prosecuting, said the offence took place in March, 2021. She said the victim, of Coton-in-the-Elms, received a telephone call from someone purporting to be a police officer saying about the fraudulent activity on his bank account.
The prosecutor said: “He was asked to go and withdraw cash from a local bank and hand it to an officer who would come to his door so that he could assist their investigation. The defendant drove from London, parked up close to the address and was wearing dark trousers, a hi-vis jacket and a mask over his face.
“The victim had been told he would be asked for a code word and when he was he handed over the package.”
Gilbert Smith, of Collingham Road, Kensington, London, denied any wrongdoing after being arrested and charged and was found guilty of one count of fraud by false representation following a trial
He has previous convictions for drugs. Steven Taylor, his barrister, said his client was born in the Caribbean and his childhood was a difficult one, meaning he left home at 16.
He said: “He made a bad mistake when he was in financial difficulties and it is difficult to argue he did not play a significant role. He wishes to express his regret for his involvement in this situation.”
As part of the suspended sentence, Recorder Thompson ordered Gilbert Smith to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and to attend 15 rehabilitation sessions.
We send out the biggest stories in an email every day. Sign up for the main Derbyshire Live newsletter here.
- ^ thousands of pounds in cash by fraudsters posing as police (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
- ^ Handing the 26-year-old a three-month prison term (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
- ^ jury rejected your defence that you were an innocent dupe (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
- ^ Strictly star Rose Ayling-Ellis defends Derby widow mocked by cruel trolls (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
- ^ the main Derbyshire Live newsletter here. (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)