Kishan Bhatt, 28, mastermind behind a series of scams targeting elderly victims, receives severe sentencing for deceitful acts.
In a shocking case of fraud, Kishan Bhatt of Franklin Avenue, Watford, has been handed an eight-year prison sentence for orchestrating a string of scams against vulnerable elderly individuals. The cunning fraudster cunningly posed as a landlord, police officer, and bank employee to execute his deceitful ploys.
The deception began in September 2020 when Bhatt craftily advertised a property on Facebook Marketplace and duped a trusting victim into handing over a substantial £1400 deposit for the flat. Exploiting her trust, he attempted to coerce an additional £1300 deposit, but she astutely declined. Despite the appearance of professionalism, the victim never received the promised keys, leaving her bewildered and defrauded.
Continuing his spree of deception, Bhatt preyed on 87-year-old widow, Diana Pollard, in October 2021, assuming the persona of a fake police officer named DC Alan Wallis. Capitalizing on her vulnerability, he cunningly advised her to call the number on her HSBC card to report a supposed fraud investigation. During the call, Bhatt stayed on the line, masquerading as a bank fraud investigator under the alias Marcus Gibbons. Subsequently, he manipulated Ms. Pollard into making multiple visits, allowing him to drain a staggering £148,000 from her HSBC, Tesco, and NS&I accounts.
Undeterred by his previous acts, Bhatt proceeded to victimize 90-year-old Patricia Brown between November 2021 and January 2022, collaborating with accomplice Artem Kiseliov, who received his own sentence of four years and six months. The pair exploited Ms. Brown’s trust, convincing her to withdraw £10,000 from her savings and cash in her ISAs, promising protection from fraudsters by investing the money in gold and jewelry. They further persuaded her to purchase a luxury £19,000 Rolex and thousands of pounds worth of gold. Fortunately, the bank intervened, canceling one of the orders, but Bhatt and Kiseliov still managed to amass £90,000 from their victim.
In a cunning Courier Scam, Bhatt took on the role of a police officer once more, persuading three other retirees to withdraw money and hand it over to a “courier” for safekeeping. This scam netted him a total of £19,500 in May 2022, while his attempt to swindle another £4,000 was foiled when law enforcement intervened.
During his trial, Bhatt pleaded guilty to three additional counts of fraud for running fake landlord schemes, where he duped victims into believing he was renting out properties that were actually listed on AirBnB for short periods. This ruse cost one victim a substantial £5,000.
The defense offered insight into Bhatt’s troubled past, mentioning his experience of PTSD after a childhood incident where he was kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint while transporting his father’s money. Despite this revelation, Judge Adina Ezekiel condemned Bhatt’s actions as a “disgusting breach of trust” and sentenced him to eight years for the most serious counts, three years and six months for three additional counts, and 40 weeks each for the remaining fraud charges. Bhatt’s sentences will be served concurrently, with the second half of his eight-year term to be spent under license.
The courtroom heard heart-wrenching victim impact statements, revealing the profound emotional toll of Bhatt’s calculated scams. With the conclusion of this high-profile case, authorities hope it serves as a deterrent to other would-be fraudsters and offers some measure of closure for the victims affected by Bhatt’s callous actions.
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