Essex

Essex Police charge seven in elderly fraud case

Seven people have been charged with fraud-related offences alleged to have been committed against elderly and vulnerable victims.

The charges come after 16 people were arrested across Essex on Tuesday.

There are nearly 40 alleged victims, aged between 65 and 99 years old. The value of the suspected fraud is £1m.

Six of those charged will appear before magistrates in Colchester later. The alleged offences happened between 2009 and 2013.

All seven are accused of conspiring to commit fraud, though some face different additional charges.

William Brown, 48, of Friday Wood Green in Colchester, and 20-year-old company director James Brown, Oak Road in Tiptree, were charged with blackmail and one count of conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

Peter Biddle, 66, of Bromley Road, Ardleigh, and 59-year-old builder Van Purdy, also of Bromley Road in Ardleigh, and 48-year-old pawnbroker Harvey White, of Church Road in Clacton, were also charged with one count of conspiring to conceal criminal property.

James Brown, a 44-year-old builder of Lucy Lane South in Stanway, was charged with blackmail and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

Facing a single fraud charge, Rachel Poole, a 47-year-old nurse from Bromley Road in Ardleigh, will appear at Colchester Magistrates Court on 16 July.

The remaining nine people arrested, who are aged between 26 and 62, were released on police bail until 3 July.

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