Halifax woman accused of defrauding senior she met at bingo
A 65-year-old Halifax woman is accused of defrauding a 91-year-old woman out of thousands of dollars.
Police say they were contacted by the alleged victim after she noticed some suspicious activity on her credit card statement.
The investigation revealed that the woman had been defrauded of several thousand dollars by someone who had used her credit card at various locations in Halifax over the last two months.
Police arrested a woman without incident in Halifax around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Brenda Louise Clements appeared in Halifax provincial court today to face a charge of fraud over $5,000.She was released from custody under conditions including that she stay away from seniors’ facilities and people over the age of 70.
Police say Clements approached her alleged victim at a bingo hall and offered to help her with daily activities and errands.
Investigators believe there may be more victims who have been defrauded in a similar manner and they are asking those people to contact police.
“Please come forward to police. We're here to help you, and like this case, it shows that we are able to lay charges and bring the individual responsible to justice,” said Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Cst. Pierre Bourdages.
CTV News has learned this is not the first time Clements has been charged with this kind of offence.
In 2014, she was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly man who lived in a seniors’ residence.
The man’s nephew told CTV News his uncle died shortly after the case began working its way through the court system, and the charge was dropped.
“It's very tragic when that sort of thing happens, and it's part of the reason why that sort of thing happens as well, because depending on the age of the senior, it may not make it through the courts,” commented seniors’ advocate Ian MacDonald.
MacDonald runs a program to help seniors avoid becoming victims of fraud.
“We hear the stories all the time, whether it's been compromised credit cards, whether it's been the 'You've won a free prize,' whether it's been the ‘Grandparent fraud,’” he said.
Police say financial situations, health needs or the reliance on others can make seniors especially vulnerable to fraud. They recommend that anyone needing assistance check the references of anyone offering their help before entrusting them with money or personal care.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell