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Con artist jailed for doorstep scams


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This page was last updated on
17-Jul-2014 16:16

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A con artist from Croydon, who was described by a judge as 'utterly despicable', has been jailed for 15 months, after she committed a string of doorstep scams where she duped her victims into thinking that she had seriously ill family members and needed their help and money.

Sherene Simmons (10/04/1982) of Dalmally Road, Croydon was sentenced yesterday, Wednesday 16 July, to 15 months imprisonment at Croydon Crown Court.

She had previously pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud by false representation at Camberwell Magistrates' Court on 22 May and a further three offences were also taken into consideration by the judge at sentencing.

The scam involved Simmons turning up unexpectedly on her victims’ doorstep, often in the early hours of the morning, and asking for help and money in order to visit a sick relative at hospital. In one case, she claimed that her mother had suffered a heart attack and that she needed to borrow the money so that she and her family could get to the hospital and visit her.

Although her victims often doubted the story, they nevertheless gave Simmons the money, but always on the proviso that she would return and pay them back.

However, Simmons completely fabricated the stories and never returned to pay her victims back. In some cases, she even returned to the same victim asking for more money and help, telling them that her mother had suffered further illness or that she had died and that she urgently needed to get to the hospital again.

Simmons targeted victims in the Addiscombe, Ashburton, Croham and Shirley areas and the amount of money she conned out of her victims varied, but was typically around £40-£60 in cash each time.

The first of the reports came into police during March and following the initial reports, detectives from Croydon CID carried out substantial enquiries to identify, locate and arrest Simmons. She was eventually located and arrested by police on Monday 19 May and was charged the following day with 12 counts of fraud by false representation.

Detective Constable Scott Barefoot, from Croydon CID, who investigated the case said:

"Simmons preyed on the goodwill of her victims to con them out of money, when they thought she was in real need. The judge described her crimes as ‘utterly despicable’ and it is an apt description of what she has done. I hope the fact that she will now be behind bars for a significant amount of time will give her victims some comfort."

For more advice and information on how to avoid falling victim to fraudsters and scams visit the crime prevention pages on the Met Police website: http://www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention