A CONMAN who swindled an Exeter family out of £100,000 has been sentenced to four years and eight months in a young offenders' institution.
Charles Casey, 21, was involved in the scamming an elderly woman and her 50-year-old son in Exeter posing as someone who could help them retrieve money they were trying to get back after having an expensive paving job done at their home.
He also conned an 88-year-old man from Wokingham out of around £360,000 – his entire life savings – in 2010 and 2011, after duping him into believing his roof needed dehumidifying work done.
Sentencing Casey at Reading Crown Court, Judge Wood said of the Wokingham incident: "It was a cynical, sophisticated, heartless asset-stripping of an 88-year-old man."
But the judge accepted Casey had "limited involvement" in the Exeter case.
Casey, a member of the travelling community who was part of another £1 million building scam in his teens, approached Mr Ronald Dew, now 90, calling himself Jeffrey Andrews and told the pensioner his roof was in need of dehumidification in July 2010.
Daniel Fugallo, prosecuting, said dehumidification was "unnecessary", and told the court Casey requested a "cheque for £18,000 as a deposit for the hire of dehumidifying machinery", which Mr Dew handed over.
Mr Dew was told the work would start soon but it never did and he was "fobbed off", according to Mr Fugallo, and asked to hand over another cheque for £18,300.
After attempting to cancel the work, Mr Dew was told he could speed up the process by handing over his assets and faced a torrent of calls from people saying he 'mustn't contact the police'.
"More cash payments were made, more cheques written out and more transfers made," Mr Fugallo told the court.
Mr Dew then met Casey – who was described as "hopelessly addicted to cocaine" by Gavin Rofer, mitigating – in a car park with an envelope containing £13,000 cash.
When it became clear that he still would not get back the money he had previously given Casey, Mr Dew refused to hand over the wad of cash.
Casey, of Rose Meadow View, Bristol, "snatched" the envelope from Mr Dew's hand, inflicting a "minor cut", and getting away with £9,000 leaving the pensioner "shocked and horrified", said Mr Fugallo.
The prosecuting barrister told the court the series of events left Mr Dew "clearly very embarrassed and humiliated".
In the separate Exeter case, the court heard a mother and son, Edith and Peter Dobrijevic, were approached by Casey posing as a Mr Anthony Fleet, after they paid out £59,000 to re-pave the driveway.
Putting himself forward as a potential saviour to their financial woes, Casey allegedly said that if they transferred funds over to him they would be able to get their money back from the cowboy pavers.
However, Casey was rumbled when he called at their house when police were in the property and was arrested nearby with two mobile phones in his possession.
In a previous hearing Casey pleaded guilty to fraud against Mr Dew, converting criminal property with others for the amounts £18,000, £18,300, £62,000 and robbery.
Although he is now 21, Casey will begin his sentence in a young offenders' institution due to his age at the time of pleading guilty, but may be moved to an adult prison at a later date.
Judge Wood said: "You will be a very young adult in an adult prison."