More elderly conned

2012-07-05 00:00

POLICE have confirmed that a suspect has been taken in for questioning in connection with a spate of thefts in retirement villages by a woman confidence trickster posing as pollster conducting a survey among the aged.

Meanwhile, more pensioners have come forward claiming to have been swindled out of their life savings, allegedly by the same con artist.

They spoke to The Witness yesterday following reports of a woman who sweet-talked her way into bedrooms at retirement complexes to steal from the occupants.

The latest two victims — who did not wish to be named for fear of their own safety — both said they had been conned by a trickster who resembled the slim woman who had been to the retirement complexes at the weekend.

One of them, an 86-year-old woman, said she first met the trickster when she conned her out of more than R500 000 three years ago. At the time she was living at Evergreen Retirement Village, where a con woman struck on Saturday. She said the trickster had persuaded her to become a financier in a venture to buy pots and ovens from a supplier who imported them from Germany, then sold them to a Cape Town business.

“Then I was going to get my money back with a little profit,” said the woman who has since moved.

“The idea was I’d buy the pots to be sent to Cape Town because she didn’t have the money to buy them. I cashed in all my savings …

I’d give her R20 000 at a time, R15 000, R5 000, R10 000,” she sighed.

She even pawned her valuables. “I believed and I trusted her. She was sweet and sounded genuine. We were kind of friends.”

The trickster would tell her, “You’re more of a mother to me than my mother is.”

At Easter this year, she claimed to find a buyer for the elderly woman’s car and took it, leaving her believing the payment would be invested in the venture.

The other victim, a 70-year-old widower, said that in two months the trickster took his savings of R60 000 and two vehicles and fraudulently made herself a beneficiary of his life policy.

“I met her in Scottsville shopping mall in March and she seemed like a very religious woman as she spoke a lot about the word of God, so I became fond of her because she reminded me of my wife,” he said.

“A relationship began and I started visiting her place, where she would force me to drink a lot of alcohol, which she normally bought for me.

“I can drink a bottle of whisky by myself, but when I was with her I would pass out after a couple of drinks, so I think she spiked my drinks.”

He left his family for the woman when they started to object to her.

“I took my personal files to her place and when I was drunk she would make me sign some document,” he recalled.

“I think she must have been using black magic because I did things without thinking when I was with her.

“I withdrew from my pension money at R1 000 every day — something that I never did before.”

She asked him for a loan of R47 000, which he gave her.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said: “The investigation is at a sensitive stage and it would be unwise to divulge any information.”

No arrests have been made.

At the time of going to press it could not be established whether Zwane was referring to one case, or two.


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