Saturday 24 March 2018

Warrant issued for bogus roofer who conned pensioner out of €12,000

Conor Gallagher

A BENCH warrant has been issued for a youth who failed to show up for sentencing for conning an 82-year-old woman out of her life savings by pretending to fix her roof.

Vladimir Turculet (19) went to the woman’s door and told her she needed her roof fixed or it would collapse. Over the next two weeks he returned repeatedly saying he needed more money for supplies. She handed over a total of €11,750 and no work was ever carried out on the roof.

Judge Patricia Ryan had originally adjourned finalising sentence so Turculet could repay the stolen money.

“This is a very complicated case”, defence counsel John Berry BL during the original sentence hearing. “No, it isn’t,” the judge replied. “I want €11,750 in court.”

The court was told today that Turculet was released from hospital several days ago but the defence team had no information about his whereabouts. Judge Ryan issued a bench warrant but put a stay on it until Monday so it can be established if he is medically fit to attend court.

During the May sentence hearing defence counsel said the stolen money was “gone” and his client has no assets he could sell. When he said his family may be able to raise some compensation Judge Ryan adjourned the matter.

“I want €11,750 and then I’ll consider the matter,” she told counsel. “This is a very, very serious matter.”

Turculet of Coolaghknock Avenue, Kildare, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing six cheques from the woman between October 20 and November 2, 2010 at her Sandymount home.

Garda Shane Griffin told prosecuting counsel, Pieter Le Vert BL, that the woman had worked in Guinness all her life and had €16,000 in a savings account in case of emergencies.

Turculet called to her home and claimed to be from a roofing contractor. He claimed her roof was in danger of falling in and that he would fix it for €600. When the woman agreed he told her to make the cheque out to him and not to cross it.

Over the next few weeks he returned several times asking for more money to cover the costs of supplies. She gave him six cheques totalling €11,750.

No work was ever carried out and when the woman told her nephew about it he immediately went to the gardai who began an investigation.

The woman was able to tell gardai that Turculet was a Moldovan. They tracked down his address in Kildare using immigration records and CCTV footage from the bank where the cheques were cashed.

When Gda Griffin called to the house, Turculet’s father claimed he was not there. A later search of the house revealed Turculet hiding in the attic.

Turculet claimed he was not operating alone and that another man paid him to cash the cheques. He also claimed they had done work on the roof. Gardai had an expert examine the woman’s roof and he concluded that no work had taken place and the maximum cost of any such work would be no more than €1,500.

The woman told gardai that there had never been anyone with Turculet and that she gave the cheques only to him.

Turculet’s counsel said he has no drink or drugs problems and has a child with his partner. He came here with his parents in 2006 and went to secondary school in Kildare where he got his Leaving Certificate.

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