Conman pleads guilty to defrauding elderly women

A CONMAN who targeted elderly and demented women and then stole thousands of dollars from them has pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud.

Charles Caston, 26, of Crayford Crescent of Mount Pritchard, pleaded guilty in Bathurst Local Court to charges of obtaining a financial benefit by deception and will be sentenced in Liverpool on November 9.

Magistrate Michael Allen ordered full pre-sentence report.

The court heard that on July 22 this year Caston knocked on the door of his 86-year-old Bathurst victim, who suffers from severe dementia.

The victim answered the door and had a conversation with him and Caston advised her the house needed some repairs to its roof.

Caston provided a quote of $1250 and the elderly victim agreed to pay the money, telling Caston she had to be taken into town to withdraw the money from a bank account.

Caston followed the victim into her home where she collected her wallet, then helped the victim lock up her house and escorted her to his car.

He then drove the victim into the Westpac Bank where she withdrew $6500 before meeting Caston back outside.

The court heard he escorted her back to his car, drove her home and left the scene.

As the victim was walking into the home, the victim’s son – who has power of attorney - arrived, just as a Westpac staff member had called to alert him about the large cash withdrawal.

He immediately asked his mother about he money and she told him she had “given it to the man who drove her to the bank”.

He searched her purse but the money was gone, and he called the police.

Five days later, on July 27, police were called to the victim’s house after they were alerted Caston was there again.

He was arrested and taken to Bathurst police station where he denied knowledge of the money. 

The earlier fraud occurred at Wingham on August 28 last year when Caston deceived a 97-year-old woman police described as “very frail and easily confused” into paying him $6500 for work on her home.

And a further charge stemmed from the same date in Wingham, when Caston dishonestly obtained $1600 from the same elderly female for more work which was not completed.

On this occasion it was alleged Caston and a co-accused knocked on the front door of the victim’s house and asked if she wanted any painting done.

The victim invited them into her premises and took up the offer and agreed to pay the duo $3050.

The court heard the accused and co-accused spent two hours spraying an unknown substance (possibly water) around the victims timber window frames.

At some stage the victim mistakenly handed the co-accused or Caston her cheque book and they left the premises and did not return.

Later that day Caston attended the Commonwealth bank at Taree and cashed a cheque from the victim’s cheque book for $6500.

Caston also attended the Commonwealth Bank at Wingham and cashed a cheque from the victim’s cheque book for $1600. 

Both banks captured the accused cashing the cheques on CCTV.

The victim then reported the incident to police.

Caston will be sentenced on November 9.