‘Ruthless’ woman jailed after tricking Rugby pensioner

The case was heard at Warwick Crown Court, which sits in Leamington
The case was heard at Warwick Crown Court, which sits in Leamington

A heartless member of a team who tricked pensioners, including one from Rugby, into handing over bank cards in a ruthless scam, put her greedy desire above the care of her child.

Kelly Marie Gleeson was involved in obtaining tens of thousands of pounds in a sophisticated courier card con which was carried out throughout the country.

Gleeson, 31, of Dunsmore Avenue, Coventry, was jailed for five years after a judge at Warwick Crown Court heard that most of the victims were vulnerable pensioners as old as 95.

She pleaded guilty at the court to conspiracy to commit fraud, six charges of fraud, three of receiving stolen bank cards and one of possessing an article for use in fraud.

Gleeson had also pleaded guilty at York Crown Court to a further conspiracy charge, and at St Albans Crown Court to another eight offences of fraud.

Prosecutor John Hallissey said: “She is a prolific long-term fraudster who targets the elderly and vulnerable and takes advantage of their naivety to help herself to large sums of money from their bank accounts.”

Most of the frauds, with the exception of those in Hertfordshire, followed the same pattern of someone calling an elderly person claiming there had been suspicious activity on their bank card or with their account.

The caller, usually a man, claimed to be from the bank or from BT and would trick the pensioner into revealing their PIN number on the pretext of needing to check it against the one that was being used.

“They would then suggest the pensioner should take the card to their branch, but then, under the guise of being helpful, say they will send someone round to pick it up instead.

“That’s where the defendant came in, to collect it from the door, posing as a bank employee.”

In the York area between June and the beginning of August last year the team preyed on eight pensioners aged between 73 and 95 to obtain their bank cards which they then used.

In June £300 was withdrawn from an ATM machine within minutes of tricking the 95-year-old woman into handing over her Santander card, which Gleeson, wearing an obvious wig, then used to pay for a £4,600 Rolex watch at a Coventry jewellers.

When she tried to use the same card the next day, still in a wig, to get £4,000 worth of Euros from Thomson’s travel agents, the card was declined – but she brazenly spoke to the bank from the shop to try to convince them to allow the transaction.

An 81-year-old woman’s card was used to pay for £3,000 worth of Euros, and another pensioner’s Lloyds TSB card was used to withdraw £2,000 from her account in Harrogate, among a series of similar frauds.

The second conspiracy involved a Rugby pensioner who had a call from someone claiming to be from BT saying there had been a problem with a direct debit payment and asking to check her bank details, including her PIN number.

After it was arranged that a bank courier would visit to collect her card, Gleeson turned up wearing what appeared to be a Lloyds TSB cashier’s uniform and carrying a clipboard.

By the time the victim told someone when she went to a day care centre and the bank was contacted, the card had been used to withdraw £300.

An elderly Coventry woman was also tricked into handing over her bank card, which she had been asked to put in an envelope for the courier to collect, and it was used to obtain £950.

The police went to Gleeson’s home on August 7 and found a crude ink stamp with ‘Barclays’ on it, but she was not arrested at that stage for childcare and medical reasons - and when she went to the police station the next day she was granted bail.

But she continued with her dishonesty, using the cards obtained from two other Coventry pensioners to obtain more than £7,300 in cash or goods, including £1,000 worth of men’s clothing.

The next target was an 89-year-old Kenilworth woman who was tricked into revealing her PIN number before Gleeson turned up to collect her card which was used to withdraw £600 in cash.

The team then switched their attention to Hertfordshire where they also changed tactics by stealing purses and bags before contacting the victims, posing as bank employees checking the use of the card and getting them to reveal their pin numbers.

Cards from a purse stolen in Potters Bar library were used to withdraw £2,200 in cash and to pay for jewellery costing £6,250 at a shop in Leamington.

A bag was stolen from a care home in Bishops Stortford and then used to obtain just over £1,700 at an ATM machine and over the counter at the Lloyds TSB in Harlow.

And a card from a bag taken from a woman’s locker at her place of work in Hertford was used to obtain almost £500 worth of cash, clothes and perfume.

Mr Hallissey added that Gleeson had a string of previous convictions for similar offences, and had been jailed for three years in 2012 for frauds using cards stolen from handbags at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Heartlands Hospital.

Richard Gibbs, defending, said: “It is imperative at the outset that she wants it to be known clearly that not only is she disgusted by her offending and its prolific nature, but she wants to apologise to all her victims.”

He asserted that Gleeson, who has a young daughter, was “a relatively weak character who is easily led and terribly easily influenced by those around her,” but she accepted she had acted of her own free will.

Jailing her, Recorder Stephen Evans told Gleeson: “The victims were elderly. They were specifically targeted because they were vulnerable. They were, as you saw them, soft targets.

“In my judgement this was a sophisticated operation committed with others across the country and involved the use of a disguise by you.

“If it ever occurred to you that your victims might be frightened by the offences, that they might be of limited means, that they might spend the rest of their lives mistrustful of others, it did not deter you – you simply didn’t care.

“These offences were mean, committed without conscience, and your offending was persistent, ruthless and determined.

“I have read references and a letter from your daughter, but you have put your greedy desires above her care.”