Shahbaz Queshri, aged 30, pulled at the woman’s heart strings with a series of lies to get her to part with her life savings before gambling it all away on his £50,000-a-day habit.
He made friends with the pensioner, from Walsall, after she made a bad investment and lost a lot of money. She had made the initial investment because she wanted to help her disabled son have a better life, move into better accommodation and live more independently.
Queshri lied and said he worked for a Birmingham-based solicitors, promising to take her case to the High Court in London to help her reclaim the lost funds.
Over 18 months he asked her for court costs totalling £236,955. He moved to quell any hesitancy by sending fake messages pretending to be the head of the solicitor’s company. He also insinuated that bailiffs may be forced to recover unpaid fees.
Queshri also told her he was undergoing cancer treatment for a brain tumour and that he was paying for his grandmother’s medical care in Pakistan after she was involved in a bad car accident - but none of this was true.
Detective Sergeant Jason Fowler, who led the investigation, said: “This has been a long complex investigation for me and my team. Sadly the victim was groomed by him over many months in order to get her to part with her life savings. The ordeal Queshri put the woman and family through is truly sickening and despite the prison sentence, it will never be enough for the victim and her family."
“He has ruined her life and her old age where she should be relaxing and enjoying herself.”
The woman’s son died before the trial and never got to see the benefit of what his mother was trying to achieve.
She has had to remortgage her house at the age of 78 and is working hard to keep a roof over her head.
The woman’s family said: “The impact of this man’s actions on the whole family has been massive, she suffered two years of anxiety, sleepless nights and worry.
“We almost had to sell her house to pay off the debts the fraud caused and we’ll never get back all of my grandmother’s jewellery he made her pawn. Her son died in the midst of this case and she’s struggled to come to terms with it all. He is responsible for destroying her retirement as a long serving member of the NHS as a retired nurse.”
Queshri pleaded guilty to fraud at Birmingham Crown Court and was jailed for five years and four months.