A serial fraudster stole money from an 85-year-old blind woman who was unable to use an ATM without assistance.
Kim Michael David Barwell, 57, was sentenced to 13 months’ imprisonment by the Christchurch District Court on Thursday after earlier pleading guilty to multiple counts of obtaining by deception and attempted obtaining by deception.
The charges were the latest in Barwell’s long criminal history spanning about four decades and culminating in over 60 pages of convictions.
“Your record is shocking and possibly well over 100 people have been duped by you. You have preyed on the elderly, the frail, the vulnerable and the kind,” Judge John Brandts-Giesen said.
According to the summary of facts, Barwell approached several people during July and August, asking for money and claiming he needed it for fuel or to pay a mechanic to fix his broken-down vehicle. In reality, Barwell didn’t own a vehicle.
All Barwell’s victims were over the age of 65 and gave him various amounts of money.
In one instance, Barwell approached an 85-year-old woman living at a retirement home in Christchurch, and asked for money to have his van repaired. The woman, who is blind, ordered a taxi and drove with Barwell to an ATM to withdraw money.
Because she was unable to use the ATM without assistance, she allowed Barwell to do the withdrawal. He saw his chance and withdrew $1400 from her bank account without her knowing how much he had withdrawn. He promised he would pay her back, but never did.
In total, Barwell duped his victims out of $1980.
Barwell’s lawyer Stephen Hembrow said while his client had an extensive history of similar offending, his last conviction was in 2016.
Hembrow said Barwell was going through a very bad time which included him losing his accommodation and having his car stolen and, being at “his wits end”, returned to his old habits of years before.
He said the five years Barwell was able to stay out of trouble was proof that he was capable of making a change, and asked the court to consider a non-custodial sentence.
Judge Brandts-Giesen was unconvinced, saying he was sceptical about the sincerity of Barwell’s remorse since it was accompanied by complaints that the government and people had let him down.
“You have been heartless towards these people. It may have been that you slipped back into old habits after a break of five years, [but] people who go back to their old habits don’t appear to have learned much,” the judge told him.
“The general public, particularly at this time of the year, are entitled to be spared having you around to deceive them.”
In 2018, Barwell was sentenced to four years and one month in jail on 60 charges of scamming an elderly man out of $91,000. At the time, Judge Jane Farish said he was a public menace.
“Your image should be posted at every shopping mall and supermarket where you have preyed on vulnerable people, with a big notice saying, ‘You should not give money to this man’.”
This story originally appeared on [ https://www.stuff.co.nz/ Stuff]
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz