An intimidating fraudster has been jailed for five years after he posed as a police sergeant to con an elderly Derbyshire brother and sister out of half of their life savings.
John Carty, 24, forced his vulnerable victims, one a former RAF serviceman, to hand over £17,000 in just three days by frightening them into believing they would otherwise be in trouble.
He and his gang duped the brother and sister, aged 81 and 79 from Long Eaton, to go to the bank three times in three days to withdraw the cash and hand it over.
But on the final occasion a bank cashier became suspicious and called police.
Derby Crown Court was told how Carty and his gang carried out the exact same con four more times elsewhere in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.
Recorder David Mason QC said: “These are extremely serious offences which saw you deliberately target elderly and vulnerable people.
“The victims are aged from their 60s to 83, all of them were significantly intimidated by you and all of them have suffered some kind of trauma.
“The couple in Long Eaton were troubled, disturbed, frightened and have lost half of their life savings which I suspect they will not get back.
“You pretended to be a police officer and these victims were sufficiently vulnerable to believe you,”
Abigail Joyce, prosecuting, said the Long Eaton offence took place over a three-day period at the end of May.
She said an accomplice of Carty knocked on the door of the victims and showed them fake ID telling them he was a police officer.
He told them a judge had ordered they were not allowed to keep any more than £300 in cash at their address and that his sergeant, who was Carty, would call later that day to collect the money.
The pair believed them and handed over up to £7,000 in cash.
He then called the following two days, making them walk to their bank and withdraw more cash.
Miss Joyce said: “All of the offences were mean, targeted, planned and involved the gang duping elderly and vulnerable victims.
“When the brother and sister went to the bank on the third day, a cashier became suspicious about the withdrawals and asked them what was happening.
“When they told her she immediately called the police.”
Miss Joyce read out victim impacts statements from the Long Eaton brother and sister.
In them the man said: “I worked hard all of my life, served in the RAF and now we have lost half of our life savings.
“These people have not only taken large amounts of my hard-earned money but also a lot of my confidence.”
Carty, of Trewint Street, Earlsfield, London, was snared when the police arrived at the victim’s address and found him parked in a Range Rover nearby.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, two counts of burglary and two of attempted burglary.
They relate to similar offences which he carried out while also pretending to be a police sergeant in Wingerworth, near Chesterfield, Sheffield, and Rotherham at around the same time.
The court was told how none of the other gang members have been caught.
Kerrie-Ann Rowan, for Carty, said her client was from a travelling family and had a two-year-old daughter.
She said: “He got involved in cocaine and things downhill from there.
“These offences have knocked everything off track.”
Miss Joyce said the South Yorkshire and north Derbyshire burglaries and attempted burglaries all took place between March 20 and May 5.
On each occasion, Carty and his gang would pose as police officers with fakes ID documents to try and gain entry.
Miss Joyce said an attempted burglary, happened in Greenway, Wingerworth, on May 1, and that the victim was a 64-year-old man.
She added that he saw two men on camera knocking on his door carrying what appeared to be police identification but he did not answer the door.
Miss Joyce said: “He said they were persistent, knocking on the door, looking and banging on windows but he did not answer.
“They came back the following day and did the same again, this time one of them went round to the back of the property and this time one of the men tried to cover the camera with his finger and his arm.”
In his victim impact statement the man said: “It is awful that you can work all your life and that these people make you afraid to be in your own property.”
Miss Joyce said following Carty’s arrest in Derbyshire three of the four victims picked him out in a video identification parade and he was charged.