Carmen Hinson conned OAPs to fund her gambling
A woman won the confidence of elderly people only to betray their trust and "milk" them of money to fund her spiralling gambling addition.
Carmen Hinson, of Eyres Monsell, Leicester, begged vulnerable pensioners to help her financially and took advantage of their kindness.
The 64-year-old was jailed for 27 months at Leicester Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation.
Following the hearing, police released an image of Hinson in the hope that any other potential victims will come forward.
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The court heard how Hinson befriended four elderly victims and convinced them to hand over a total of £6,185 in cash, cheques and bank transfers. The offences were committed over a six-year period, from June, 2006 until her arrest last November.
Her four victims, three of whom were in their 80s, lived in Wigston, Eyres Monsell and Devon, where Hinson regularly spent time visiting a friend.
Prosecutor Alan Murphy said: "She targeted vulnerable, elderly people to obtain money by deception, by preying on their good nature. She actively deceived them into believing she was short of money and had gas bills to pay, an electricity supply that needed to be reconnected, food to buy an other similar excuses, when, in fact, she was stealing their money – money they could ill afford to give her – in order to fund her gambling addiction."
The court heard how Hinson harassed and cajoled an 85-year-old Devon man into handing over £4,000. She told an 80-year-old victim, living on only £142-a-week state pension, that she needed money for medical prescriptions, even accompanying him to collect the cash from the post office.
Having successfully paid off separate pay-day loans, he ended up owing his debtors more than £4,000 because of Hinson.
Another victim was a church pastor.
Hinson was only stopped and the police called when concerned relatives discovered a news story about a previous conviction of hers via the internet.
Having pleaded guilty to the latest charges at a Leicester Magistrates' Court hearing on November 13, Hinson, of Hebden Close, yesterday also admitted a further 18 offences. At least one of the four most recent crimes occurred while she was the subject of a suspended eight-month jail sentence, from 2009, for similar crimes.
Judge Simon Hammond said: "I am left with a feeling of anger for what this defendant has done. An addiction to gambling is no excuse. She used, emotionally blackmailed and was persistent, remorseless and ruthless in the way she extracted money."
Because she has no assets, Hinson was ordered to pay only £1 in compensation, but was told any future assets would be seized to repay her victims.
She was also told to pay a £120 victim surcharge.
In mitigation, Vasanti Vaitha, defending, said Hinson committed the crimes to fund a chronic gambling addition and asked the judge to credit her frank confessions to police, early guilty plea and expressions of remorse.
She said: "It's no excuse but this defendant's addiction is gambling, an addiction that effectively spiraled out of control and took over her life."
After the sentencing, Detective Constable Tracey Horne said: "Hinson went out of her way to trick her victims into handing over their money and I believe there is every possibility that she has done it to someone else."
Anyone with information should contact Det Con Horne by dialling 101.