Three Irishmen who allegedly ran a roof fixing scam targeting pensioners in Sydney have been arrested trying to flee Australia.
James O'Driscoll, 20, and Johnny Baker, 22, appeared before Sutherland Local Court today charged with defrauding a 72-year-old man out of AUD$42,000 (€26,000) after offering to do roof repairs.
Neither of the Irishmen applied for bail and both cases were adjourned until March 29.
A third Irish national, also aged 20, was arrested at Sydney airport by police on March 7 attempting to board a flight to the UK.
He has not yet been named but is due to appear before Sutherland Local Court in Sydney tomorrow.
Australian police have released a video and photos of one of the Irishmen being arrested at the airport who is seen attempting to cover his face.
The three Irishmen were arrested by a special task force Strike Force Denain which was set up to investigate a series of alleged frauds targeting elderly home-owners.
According to New South Wales Police, on March 7 a 20-year-old Irish national, bound for the United Kingdom, was arrested at Sydney Airport by Australian Federal Police.
Police allegedly discovered large amounts of cash and jewellery in the arrested man’s luggage and he was placed into custody
He was charged with aggravated break and enter and denied police bail.
Detectives quickly established that an alleged scam was underway and would continue the next day at a home in Bexley, a suburb in southern Sydney.
It’s alleged the detectives made contact with the home-owner, a 72-year-old man, and warned him he was the victim of an alleged scam.
Following further inquiries, at 8.20pm on Saturday March 9, police arrested a 22-year-old man at Sydney Airport as he tried to board a flight to Qatar.
A search of his luggage allegedly uncovered a large amount of cash and jewellery.
He was charged with fraud and dealing in proceeds of crime; and refused police bail.
A 20-year-old man was arrested by Australian Federal Police at 10am on Monday March 11 at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport as he tried to board a flight to Shanghai in China.
Sydney detectives flew to Melbourne and late on Wednesday successfully applied for his extradition to New South Wales.
He was taken to Kogarah Police Station in south Sydney and charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.
Police have confirmed they are hunting for a fourth alleged offender involved in the roof scam which targeted vulnerable elderly people.
Detectives are also liaising with other police commands and Victoria Police in relation to similar alleged fraud offences involving elderly victims.