Fraudster who fleeced elderly couple from Hartlepool bought their bank details for £50 outside a job centre

A fraudster who fleeced the account of an elderly couple from Hartlepool has been jailed.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 15:13 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 16:06 pm
Fiaz Saleh bought the couple's bank account details for 50 from a stranger he met outside a Jobcentre.

Fiaz Saleh bought the couple's bank account details for £50 from a stranger he met outside a job centre.

Saleh ordered bank cards in the couple's name but using his address, and he opened a false Paypal account, Teesside Crown Court heard.

"The offending came to light when the couple, who are both in their 70s, visited their NatWest Branch in Hartlepool to ask about some unauthorised transactions," said Robin Turton, prosecuting.

"It seems new cards had been ordered to the defendant's home address in Barking in Essex.

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"Among the fraudulent transactions made was the purchase of some Moroccan wallpaper.

"It was on the wall of his house when police called.

"There was also a number of mobile phone and internet shopping transactions.

"Neither of the couple has a mobile or access to the internet."

Mr Turton said one of the elderly couple had been diagnosed with dementia, which had made it difficult for them to report the fraud.

NatWest has since refunded £1,800 to the couple.

Saleh targeted another account in the same way.

"That belonged to a lady," said Mr Turton.

"A number of cash transfers were made from her account to an account controlled by Saleh.

"The total amount involved is just over £3,000."

Saleh, 33, of Blake Avenue, Barking, Essex, admitted seven charges of fraud, and he admitted three charges of theft between March 2017, and October 2018.

He has a previous conviction for making a false representation.

Joe Hedworth, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Saleh and his partner have just had their first child.

"He was ashamed and upset when he discovered the victims were elderly.

"He bought the bank details for £50 from a stranger, and he had no idea who the victims were.

"Mr Saleh has lost his job with Asda, but has the offer of a new one.

"His best mitigation is his plea of guilty."

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton jailed Saleh for 12 months.

The judge told him: "You did not know the age of your victims, but the fact they were elderly and in ill-health is still an aggravating feature of this case.

"These frauds went on for some time, and you have a record of similar offending.

"In your favour is your plea of guilty, but in all the circumstances I cannot suspend the appropriate sentence."