Spanish police investigating a care company that allegedly cheated at least one elderly and vulnerable British customer out of her savings and property have arrested two women and seized €45,000 in cash.
The women – one British and one Spanish – were arrested in the south-eastern province of Murcia last week on suspicion of aggravated fraud, falsifying documents and false administration.
Guardia Civil officers who searched the company’s headquarters also recovered £3,600 in cash as well as documents, bank cards and savings books belonging to elderly Britons living in the Murcian city of Mazarrón. They fear as many as a dozen people could have fallen victim to the fraud.
The investigation began after police learned that a “vulnerable and dependent” 90-year-old British woman who lived on her own in Mazarrón had been conned out of her home and her savings. They also discovered she trusted and relied heavily on her British carer – who also lived in the city – and had no family support.
“Officers established that the carer had abused the elderly woman’s trust and taken control of her home and her savings,” the Guardia Civil said in a statement. “She had sold the property, made herself the joint holder of the woman’s bank account, and was spending the money on purchases for herself that had nothing to do with the needs of the victim.”
The police also found legal documents that allegedly show the carer had persuaded her alleged victim to alter her will in her favour.
“Officers have learned that the arrested Briton sought out fellow Britons living in Mazarrón – mainly older people with no family support and no knowledge of Spanish – and offered them home care,” the statement said.
A Guardia Civil spokesperson said the inquiry was continuing, but added it was likely that several people had been scammed.
“We assume there could be quite a few other victims of this plot, perhaps as many as a dozen,” he said. “Our officers carried out the arrests to stop anyone else falling victim to these frauds. We’re analysing the information and materials we have to determine how many victims there could be.”