– Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge, Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate
"The offences we are looking at basically amount to the financial abuse of the most vulnerable members of our society. The evidence would suggest that these vulnerable people have been groomed and then preyed upon by a group whose sole intention appears to be to line their own pockets.”
Police executing warrants as part of a major investigation into the defrauding of the elderly in Essex have made 16 arrests today.
The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate investigation has been running since early December 2012 and is looking at fraudulent activity in excess of £1m.
Police have arrested six men on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, one woman and one man on suspicion of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and seven people on suspicion of money laundering.
Detectives have arrested 16 people in raids across Essex in one of the biggest investigations in England and Wales into a criminal conspiracy targeting vulnerable elderly people.
Up to 140 pensioners, aged between 65 and 99, were allegedly conned out of more than £1 million by the gang, say police.
Eighteen victims, predominantly widowed or unmarried women, died during the investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate.