Detective Chief Inspector Sean Field Lament *Photo supplied
Detective Chief Inspector Sean Field Lament *Photo supplied

WEDNESDAY, MAY 9: Scheming crooks that target the elderly will have ‘nowhere to hide’ when they come to court.

The warning from the Financial Crime Unit follows two high-profile convictions where defendants have been convicted of plundering huge sums of cash from vulnerable victims.

Detective Chief Inspector Sean Field Lament told the Bermuda Sun that fraudsters who tried to take financial advantage of elderly victims would be caught and brought to justice.

He added: “These kind of crimes will always come to light in the end.

“There is a money trail and a paper trail that will lead us to the criminals.

“It would be a very short-sighted decision for people to take financial advantage of the elderly because you can not hide the evidence.

“We will not allow criminals to get away with this.”

Just last month sisters Audra Ann Bean, 44, and Lorraine Smith, 46, were found guilty of stealing nearly $500,000 from their grandmother.

While earlier this week banking executive Barbara Tannock, 42, admitted plundering $76,500 from the life savings of an elderly couple to pay off her debts.

All three women now face lengthly jail terms when they are sentenced.

Police hope both convictions will encourage islanders to make advance arrangements for their estates and persuade other elderly victims to come forward.

DCI Field Lament added: “Due to the economic times there is more temptation for people to look for financial relief through fraudulent activity.

“The largest growing demographic is the elderly because people are living longer.

“This means people need to put preventative measures in place so they are properly protected in their senior years.

“Having a will and proper estate management is a good start.

“There is always the danger of crimes like this going unreported.

“And people whose mental state is challenged are not always aware that they are being taken advantage of which is why it is even better to have preventative measures in advance.

“But the recent convictions shows the public how seriously these reports are taken and that they can come forward with confidence.

“The consequences of these cases can not be understated. Families are left in tatters.

“And that is why people need to be aware of the financial affairs of their eldest relatives and ensure arrangements are made in advance.”

Meanwhile yesterday at Magistrates’ Court two Meyer Company workers received prison sentences for defrauding the company.

Stephen Paynter, 59, and Debra Pacheco, 53, stole almost $200,000 between them while they worked for one of the shipping arms of William E Meyer and Company.

Paynter, of St George’s, who was in a management position, was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Although he will only serve the first nine months in jail.

He admitted theft and conspiracy to defraud.

Pacheco of Pembroke, who worked in the accounts department, was jailed for two years.

She admitted theft, conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.

DCI Field Lament told the Sun: “This is yet another sad case of persons betraying the trust and authority bestowed upon them for greed and personal gain.

“The custodial sentence sends a clear and unambiguous message that fraudulent criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.

“I hope that persons will think twice about engaging in this type of activity as it is short sighted, has dire consequences and ultimately crime does not pay.”