A CONMAN who posed as a bank employee to defraud an elderly couple suffering dementia out of their home and life savings has been told to pay back more than £300,000 or face another three years in jail.

Syed Bukhari, formerly of Union Road, Oswaldtwistle, targeted an 81-year-old woman and her 80-year-old husband, by posing as a bank worker.

Once he had scammed the couple of all of their assets, the heartless fraudster used their money to travel the world, on one occasion spending almost £11,000 on a hotel stay in Dubai.

During his trips, Bukhari, 38, had spent tens of thousands of pounds on Rolex watches, jewellery, designer clothes, bags, phones and a cosmetic procedure to have a wig fitted.

He was arrested upon return to the UK from one of his trips in February of 2018 and in turn appeared in court where he was sentenced to seven years and 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud.

The sentence came as a result of a Lancashire Constabulary investigation launched after it was discovered a house belonging to the married elderly couple had been sold without their knowledge.

Enquiries also revealed that numerous bank accounts and credit cards had been taken out in their name.

Bukhari had withdrawn from their existing accounts and stole in excess of £150,000 of their life savings whilst purporting to be their son or a bank employee helping the pair.

Within weeks, 10 different bank accounts and credit cards in the victim’s names had been opened fraudulently via online applications. One of the accounts had almost £100,000 deposited into it, which was later found to be from savings and investments belonging to the couple. The bank froze the account after becoming suspicious and so unable to access the money, Bukhari then began making multiple calls to the bank claiming to be the son, questioning why the account was blocked stating his father would be attending the Blackpool branch to resolve the problem.

This week he again appeared in front of a judge at Preston Crown Court during a proceeds of crime (POCA) hearing, where he was told he must pay back £307,759 of the £561,058 he made from his fraudulent activities within three months, or he’ll face more years in prison.

Nomi Lillystone, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “Bukhari has shown no remorse throughout this investigation and had instead sought to prolong proceedings for as long as he could.

“Lancashire Constabulary will proactively and robustly target those who seek to exploit the most vulnerable in society and hopefully the conclusion of this case will provide some form of closure for Bukhari’s victims and their family

“If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of something similar, please report it to us or Action Fraud on 0800 123 2040.

“Anyone who feels a registered property could be at risk from fraud can sign up to the award-winning free property monitoring service at https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/”

For advice on how to spot the signs and how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, please visit Action Fraud’s website at actionfraud.police.uk.