A SHELDON man who befriended a pensioner and defrauded her out of almost a £250,000 has been jailed for more than five years.
Shahbaz Queshri, from Olorenshaw Road, was handed the sentence following the two-year investigation by West Midlands Police’s Bloxwich-based investigation team.
Officers were able to prove he frittered away all of the stolen cash, spending up to £50k a day on gambling websites.
Queshri pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court due to the overwhelming evidence gathered against him. On Monday he was jailed for five years and four months.
The 30-year-old made friends with the pensioner after she made a bad investment and lost a lot of money.
She had made the initial investment because she wanted to help her disabled son have a better life, move into better accommodation and live more independently.
Queshri lied and said he worked for a Birmingham-based solicitors, promising to take her case to the High Court in London to help her reclaim the lost funds. Over 18 months he asked her for court costs totalling £236,955.
Whenever she was hesitant to hand over money he would send fake messages pretending to be from the head of the solicitor’s company and insinuated that bailiffs may be forced to recover unpaid fees.
He even wore a fake Rolex watch to make himself more believable.
He pulled on the woman’s heartstrings with a series of lies. He told her he was undergoing cancer treatment for a brain tumour and that he was paying for his grandmother’s medical care in Pakistan after she was involved in a bad car accident – police were able to prove none of that was true.
The force said the saddest part of the case was that the woman’s son passed away before the trial. He never got to see the benefit of what his mum was trying to achieve.
She’s had to remortgage her house at the age of 78 and is working hard to keep a roof over her head.
Det Sgt Jason Fowler, who led the investigation, said: “This has been a long complex investigation for me and my team.
“Sadly the victim was groomed by him over many months in order to get her to part with her life savings.
“The ordeal Queshri put the woman and family through is truly sickening and despite the prison sentence, it will never be enough for the victim and her family.
“He has ruined her life and her old age where she should be relaxing and enjoying herself.”
In a statement released today the woman’s family said: “The impact of this man’s actions on the whole family has been massive, she suffered two years of anxiety, sleepless nights and worry.
“We almost had to sell her house to pay off the debts the fraud caused and we’ll never get back all of my grandmother’s jewellery he made her pawn.
“Her son died in the midst of this case and she’s struggled to come to terms with it all. He is responsible for destroying her retirement as a long serving member of the NHS as a retired nurse.”
Older people concerned about being scammed can click here for advice and support.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and also offers advice. Visit actionfraud.police.uk for more information.