All the victims were contacted by telephone at their homes and told that they needed to collect together their bank cards and put them into an envelope with their name on it ready to be collected by a ‘courier’.
A courier then arrived to collect the cards which were then used to make a quick series of withdrawals at stores and banks.
Sutton’s victim – a 65-year-old female resident, who lives with her husband in Hallowell Avenue, Croydon – had only just returned home from hospital after an operation, when she was called on Tuesday, 27 October, 2015. She provided her account information willingly and did not suspect anything was wrong because she had rung her bank the previous day enquiring about getting a new bank card.
But within 30 minutes of receiving a telephone call and the courier arriving to collect the cards, a total of £900 was withdrawn in three transactions on three different cards from an ATM at Sainsbury’s, Purley Way, Croydon - about a mile away from their address. Ten minutes after the Sainsbury’s ATM transactions, an attempt was made to pay for goods totalling £938 on one of the cards at Argos, also in Purley Way.
Officers viewed Sainsbury’s CCTV footage and identified Sean Lee, aged 34. This information was shared with a Sussex-based investigation which covered London, Surrey, Sussex, Essex, Hampshire, Dorset, West Mercia, South Yorkshire, and Humberside. The investigation found that Lee had stolen a total of £40,000 from his victims.
At Croydon Court, on Monday, 13 June, Sean Marcus Lee, (dob: 22.06.1981), of Leander Road, Thornton Heath, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to 22 fraud offences.
It was the maximum sentence that High Court Judge McKinnon could give under the sentencing guidelines. The Judge told Lee he was an habitual fraudster and that if he had his way he would have given him five years. Police are pursuing a confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.