July 26 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 3, 2014
A gang of rogue traders who targeted more than 40 victims has been sentenced to a combined 27 years and eight months behind bars.
Another member of the group, all of whom admitted fraud or money laundering offences against 18 victims, was given a two year suspended sentence.
Those who were targeted by the gang were between 65 and 99 years old and man had their life savings stolen.
The 18 victims who the group admitted offences against lost more than £1million between them.
The six men were arrested in Colchester and Clacton last June after a joint investigation carried out by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate (SCD) and Essex County Council Trading Standards.
Unemployed William Brown, 49, of Friday Wood Green, Colchester was sentenced to seven years in prison after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, conspiracy to convert criminal property and fraud against Andrew Millar.
Company director James Brown Jnr, 21, of Oak Road, Tiptree was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and being involved in money laundering arrangements.
Unemployed Peter Biddle, 66, of Bromley Road, Ardleigh was sentenced to four years in prison after admitting fraud against three victims and converting criminal property.
Builder Van Purdy, 60, of Bromley Road, Ardleigh was sentenced to two years in prison after admitting conspiracy to convert criminal property.
Builder James Brown Snr, 45, of Duffield Drive, Colchester was sentenced to 10 years in prison after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, conspiracy to convert criminal property, fraud relating to loans, and two counts of fraud against Andrew Millar.
Self-employed Anthony Symes, 59, of Clacton Road, Weeley Heath was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of two years after admitting fraud against two victims and converting criminal property.
Detective Chief Inspector Keith Davies, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Today’s sentencing marks the end of a 16 month investigation into this gang which targeted and groomed a series of elderly victims in order to steal their life savings.
“They left many of their victims penniless and they have shown no remorse whatsoever for the suffering and hardship they caused in order to line their own pockets.
“I am pleased with these convictions but we are already aware of other gangs seeking to move into Essex and carry out similar offences.
“There can be no complacency around the scale of this type of fraud and I would urge the friends and family of any vulnerable elderly people to help protect them from these predators”