26 Sep 2009

Man who swindled 94-year-old to be deported

6:54 pm on 26 September 2009

A man who swindled an elderly Wellington woman has been sentenced to eight months' home detention, but is being deported to Fiji at the weekend.

Hemant Kumar, 52, was sentenced in the Wellington District Court on Friday on 40 charges of dishonestly using a document to which he had earlier pleaded guilty.

Kumar met his 94-year-old victim in 2004 and over the next two years defrauded her of $127,585 by grossly overcharging for services such as taking her to the hairdresser.

He also obtained loans from the woman ranging between $700 and $35,000 that were never repaid.

His lawyer asked for recognition of Kumar's early guilty pleas, and said he suffered depression since the death of his wife 18 months ago.

Spot the warning signs, says Age Concern

Judge Bruce Davidson said there were several aggravating features to the offending, including the age of the victim and the gross breach of trust, and Kumar had shown no remorse.

In court, a family spokesperson told Kumar the woman had been a dignified person who saw the good in others and he preyed on her vulnerability in a cruel and calculating way.

Meanwhile, Age Concern is urging families to ensure that older relatives are not vulnerable to swindlers.

It says there are often warning signs that someone might be being ripped off, including becoming withdrawn, failing to pay bills and appearing to lack money.