Man jailed for enabling fraud to be carried out on elderly vulnerable man - St Albans

14/01/2014

A public-spirited taxi firm from Radlett stopped a fraud on an elderly, vulnerable man by calling the police when it was asked to collect his credit card from his home.

Staff at Radlett Radio Cars were not happy when they were asked to collect the card from  69-year-old Anthony Bardell in Frogmore and take it to Chingford Avenue in London EC4.

St Albans Crown Court heard today, Tuesday, 14 January 2014, that the police were alerted and one of the conspirators - Nicholas Lee, who was acting as the courier, was arrested.

Prosecutor Kevin West said: "The victim had been contacted and persuaded to provide details of his PIN over the phone. He was told the card needed to be collected and the taxi firm was called."

He said that after the police went to the London address, they discovered that an attempt had also been made to redirect the victim's mail. Lee, now 41, had previously lived at the address. He was arrested and made no comment in interview.

Because of the actions of the taxi firm, no money was taken, said the prosecutor.

Lee, the son of a former police Inspector, of Dale View Avenue, Chingford, pleaded guilty to being concerned with a person unknown to commit fraud by false representation on 16 October last year. He had 10 previous convictions.

Defence barrister Robert Acheson said: "He had pleaded guilty to a mean offence. He was contacted on the day by a friend and asked to collect something. He knew it was some sort of credit card fraud, but his involvement is limited to a short period of time. He was the runner."

Mr Acheson said Lee, who runs a building company, lives with his parents and has reflected on the fact that they are of a similar age to the victim in the case. He said he was remorseful and had let down his parents and his girlfriend.

Judge Stephen Warner jailed him for 15 months, saying: "It was a planned, deliberate targeting of an elderly victim. You played a willing part in enabling the fraud to be carried out.  It had the hallmarks of a professional and organised enterprise."

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