Fraudster preyed on Elderly Women to Fund ‘Lavish Lifestyle’

A serial fraudster preyed on elderly women, posing as a policeman, banker or landlord, in order to fund his “lavish lifestyle”.

Fraudster preyed on Elderly Women to Fund 'Lavish Lifestyle' f

"I end up crying every time I think about what happened."

Kishan Bhatt, aged 28, of Watford, was jailed for eight years for carrying out a series of scams on elderly women in order to fund his “lavish lifestyle”.

He posed as a landlord, police officer and bank employee.

Jonathan Gold, prosecuting, said Bhatt carried out a fake landlord scam in September 2020, advertising a property on Facebook Marketplace.

The victim answered the advert and agreed to meet Bhatt.

Mr Gold said: “He said there was high demand for the flat and pressured her to hand over £1,400 deposit.

“He also tried to persuade her to hand over £1,300 deposit but she could not.

“It all looked professional, she signed documents on a touchscreen device. She was told she would get keys the following day but the keys never materialised.”

The victim complained about the missing keys and agreed to meet Bhatt at Hounslow’s Osterley station. But when she arrived with her boyfriend, Bhatt ran away.

In October 2021, Bhatt posed as fake police officer DC Alan Wallis to scam 87-year-old Diana Pollard.

He told her that police were investigating fraud and asked her to call the number on the back of her HSBC card.

But while Ms Pollard dialled the number, Bhatt stayed on the line and then posed as a bank fraud investigator called Marcus Gibbons.

Ms Pollard later called the real HSBC number and asked about Mr Gibbons.

Mr Gold said: “She was told it was a scam, but HSBC did not cancel her card or take any action at this stage.

“She also called Action Fraud but did not hear anything back. She thought she was safe and no scam had taken place.”

She then received a call from Mr Gibbons who said a colleague will visit her, prompting a series of regular visits from Bhatt posing as a bank employee.

During the visits, Bhatt stole money from her HSBC, Tesco and NS&I accounts, spending some of the money on takeaways and taxis, and ordering a new passport to try and verify planned gold purchases.

Mr Gold said: “The total amount that had been transferred from her account was £148,000 over that period.”

In a victim statement, Ms Pollard said: “I am too scared to leave the house.

“I end up crying every time I think about what happened. This man would sit with me in the dining room.

“He told me about his family life and children, I thought he was my friend.

“My whole world collapsed when they told me I had been the victim of fraud.”

Bhatt also scammed 90-year-old Patricia Brown between November 2021 and January 2022, posing as a fraud investigator alongside his accomplice Artem Kiseliov, who is already serving four years and six months for his role.

They asked Ms Brown to transfer £10,000 from her savings into her current account and cash in her ISAs.

After claiming the money would be safe from fraudsters if it is invested in gold and jewellery, Bhatt told Ms Brown to buy a £19,000 Rolex from a jewellers in Colchester, and then return the next day to buy three more for £69,000 which would then be collected from her home.

She was also told to buy £49,500 worth of gold from a shop in Luton, but the order was cancelled by her bank.

Bhatt and his associates then picked up Ms Brown in a white Rolls Royce and drove her to a gold bank in Southall. However, the jewellers refused to sell to her.

They then drove her to Hatton Garden, where she was refused again and told she needed to open an account.

When Ms Pollard tried to open an account with Baird & Co, a shop assistant called the police.

Officers visited the elderly woman and told her she had been scammed.

Mr Gold said: “She was in a state of disbelief, she thought the fraudsters were protecting her against fraud, she was utterly shocked at what happened.”

The fraudsters took a total of £90,000 from Ms Brown.

Bhatt also scammed three other elderly people where he posed as a police officer and convinced the victims to withdraw money and hand it over to a courier, who picked the money up from their address.

The total taken in May 2022 was £19,500, while Bhatt attempted another £4,000 with the third victim before police got involved.

Bhatt also admitted three more counts of fraud by false representation for fake landlord schemes.

He conned victims into believing he was renting out properties which had in fact been rented on Airbnb for just a few days.

In one case, it cost a victim £5,000 after he was forced to move his family into a temporary hotel.

Peter Hunter, defending, said Bhatt had suffered PTSD after being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint as a child while transporting his dad’s money.

Mr Hunter added: “It won’t happen again, he is deeply remorseful, regretful, and ashamed of his actions.”

Judge Adina Ezekiel told Bhatt: “The remaining acts on the indictment represent a disgusting breach of trust, defrauding elderly individuals to fund, as the prosecution puts it, your lavish lifestyle.”

Bhatt was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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