An Ashfield pensioner has described how her husband died after the couple were conned out of thousands of pounds by a gang of fraudsters in a savings protection scam.
Marie Price, 79, of Sutton, along with her late husband Alan, were one of many to be preyed on by the gang, who posed as legal consultants offering a ‘property and savings protection trust’ service.
Marie told Chad that she and her 80-year-old husband received a phone call out of the blue from the trust, and a man then visited their home and asked about their circumstances.
After repeated pressure from the man, they paid him a cheque for £2,000.
After feeling uneasy, they rang the contact number provided, and also tried a London number which they believed to be the company’s headquarters, but it was not in use.
Panicked, they then got in touch with Trading Standards to investigate - but the ordeal destroyed her husband’s health, she said.
Marie, a mother of six, said: “He was very convincing, relentless and would not give up. He said that our home would be in jeopardy after our deaths unless we signed up to the policy which concerned us, as we told him one of our sons was severely disabled and it frightened us.
“He said his parents would have endorsed it and he put the fear into us. All we wanted to do was to safeguard our family’s future.”
Alan, a former miner, who had also served as a local councillor, died in January 2014, and Marie blames the stress of their ordeal.
She said: “We felt foolish, it took away our dignity, and really shook Alan up. He was such a strong character, a wonderful husband and family man, and he took all of the financial decisions for us.
“But after that it devastated his confidence and he said he did not trust his judgement any more. He said the fight had gone out of him and it was awful.”
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team has successfully prosecuted eight people who committed the fraud, trading under the names ‘Inheritance Protection Services’, ‘Inheritance & Probate Solutions Ltd’ and ‘Goldstar Law Ltd.’
The gang took over £250,000 in each of the two years that they were operating.
The eight involved are: Joseph Croft, 53, from Sleaford; Alan Appleyard, 71, from Halifax; Matthew Appleyard, 42, Halifax; Joy Bell, 55, from Goole; Adam Nichols, 46, from Newark; Adrian Large, 51, from Lincoln; Paul Fox, 58, Widnes; and Paul Gorman, 56, from Lancashire.
A Nottinghamshire County Council spokesman said he ‘welcomed the outcome of the court case’.