Widow, 98, in sting to catch scooter conman
AFRAUDSTER, who tried to con a 98-year-old woman, met his match when he was caught in a clever sting operation she arranged with a pensioner friend.
A judge said that, but for the intervention and investigations of the friend, “it is highly likely he would have got away with it.”
The suspicious victim, Doreen Rimmer, had alerted her 66-year-old friend, Ken Pike, and together they hatched a plan to catch out dishonest mobility scooter salesman Paul Frossell.
For, despite her years, the widowed victim, who sadly has since died, was extremely alert and “nobody’s fool.”
The former matron had a certificate from Mensa, gave talks about her life and was still passionate about crosswords. “She was an amazing lady”, said Mr Pike.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Frossell had previously been jailed for six months for deliberately targeting another vulnerable elderly customer.
Frossell, 46, was convicted of fraud by magistrates last summer after a trial, but immediately appealed against that conviction.
His day-long appeal has now been thrown out and he was jailed for 12 months.
Mrs Rimmer gave evidence at the magistrates’ hearing, which was read at the Crown Court appeal: “She was ready for battle, she was very old school. We took her to court in her wheelchair,” said Mr Pike later. “She was cross he had tried to hoodwink her,” he added.
Jailing Frossell, the judge, Recorder Anthony Long, told him: “You continue to deny it and have shown no remorse whatsoever. Only a custodial sentence is appropriate to punish you and deter others who might be tempted to take advantage of very old, vulnerable people.”
He said that Frossell had deliberately targeted a 98-year-old woman and his plan was to get her 11month-old scooter, still under warranty, along with £1,500 cash and replace it with a thirdhand scooter – “but she smelt a rat.”
In her statement, Mrs Rimmer told how she bought a red electric mobility scooter for £2,795 from Mobility World, in Southport, in April, 2015, where Frossell worked.
Apart from popping back about the lightness of the steering, she had no problems with it, but on Easter Sunday last year she got a telephone call out of the blue from Frossell, introducing himself as Paul, from Mobility World.
“He informed me there had been a recall of my type of scooter and would have to take it back to check it.” She said she was shocked, as she was not experiencing any problems with it, and it was Easter Sunday.
He turned up at her Southport home 15 minutes later and, after driving it, told her “there is something seriously wrong with it.”
Frossell said he would take it and she could borrow a yellow one he had in his car until he brought hers back on Tuesday.
“He told me I could buy it off him for £1,500, and exchange for my own scooter, and told me it was worth £9,000. I told him I wasn’t interested and told him my scooter would have to last me.”
He gave her his business card from Mobility World shop in Cambridge Arcade where he had previously worked but had left on bad terms in August 2015, before the time of his illegal activity.
Before leaving he told her to call if she changed her mind, and afterwards she found it was two cards stuck together, with the outside saying, “Paul Gordon The Scooter Man” and the insides saying Mobility World.
The court heard that she called Mr Pike, who immediately came round, and after Easter he rang the manufacturer’s, who said that there had been no recall of that model.
He also rang Mobility World, who said that Frossell had left them eight months earlier, and Mr Pike contacted the police, who told him to let them know when Frossell returned.
The court heard that he then rang Frossell, pretending to be Mrs Rimmer’s son-in-law, saying he was interested in buying the yellow scooter and when he turned up he dialled 999.
While waiting for officers to arrive, he kept Frossell chatting and even went on a test ride on the scooter, while, unknown to Frossell, his wife and Mrs Rimmer were watching.
Frossell denied in court he had said he was from Mobility World, and saying that the machine was subject of a manufacturer’s recall. He said he had bought the yellow scooter, hardly used, at a bargain price of £800, and sold it to his mum for £8,000. She had sadly died in 2015, and he offered to sell it to Mrs Rimmer for £1,500, but was not intending to take her scooter as well, he claimed.
He said she had called at