Conwoman jailed for scamming elderly

Last updated 05:00 21/08/2014
amanda mcnamara
Preying on the elderly: Amanda McNamara at her sentencing in 2008. She was jailed again yesterday for scamming three elderly men out of a total of $7550.

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A conwoman who picks on elderly men to scam them out of their money has been sentenced for doing the same thing for the fourth time in eight years.

Amanda McNamara, 29, a prostitute and methamphetamine addict, was jailed in 2006 for 22 months, in 2008  for 3-1/2 years, and in 2012 for two years.

Yesterday, she added two years and five months jail for taking $7550 from a further three victims. 

In her previous sentencings she picked victims aged over 80, sometimes assaulting them and taking them to the bank to get money.

Wellington District Court Judge Ian Mill said yesterday that, in September last year, she approached an elderly man on the street who was walking home to a retirement village.  She told him she was pregnant and had been robbed and needed to get back to Auckland.

He took out $1000 for her.  She went to his home the next day and got a further $800 by telling him it was for baby supplies.

McNamara contacted him several times, getting further money, to a total of $2250.  He was caring for his terminally ill wife at the time.

In February this year she asked another elderly man for money, getting $2700 from him. A third victim gave her $2600 after she spun him another fake story.

In previous offending, she has taken $50,000 from her victims.

‘‘You preyed on elderly victims,’’ the judge told her, adding that she showed no obvious remorse and the public and potential victims needed to be protected from her.

He said one of her latest victims had moved to Wellington after the earthquakes in Christchurch because he felt safer.  He no longer had any confidence and worried constantly about money.

The judge said McNamara had previously tried treatment for the meth addiction that was at the root of her offending but had left treatment programmes after one day in one case, and five days in another.

Despite her saying she would go into long-term residential care, he said he had little confidence she would stick to it in the community.

He jailed her on two charges of dishonesty using documents, and five of causing loss by deception. He also ordered her to pay a total of $7550 in reparation.

He accepted that she needed treatment, but she was pregnant with her fourth child and could not go into residential treatment until she had the baby.  Her other children are in care.

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Her lawyer, John Dean, said prison was not going to do her any good.  McNamara had come from difficult circumstances and got tied up in the drug world. 


- The Dominion Post

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