An alleged roofing scam by a group of Irish men in Perth has led to the cancellation of visas for 26 Irish nationals who have been detained and await deportation. The scam, which targeted the elderly, came to the attention of police after numerous "traveling conmen reports".
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Police arrested five men and two boys, both 17, on Thursday over allegations they had been posing as employees of a roof repair business and going door to door in Perth suburbs in an an attempt to scam elderly residents.
On Friday police said a further 19 people, all women and children, had been detained by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. “All 26 of these overseas nationals have had their visas cancelled and they are remanded pending deportation to Ireland,” a police spokeswoman said.
Consumer Protection WA issued a public warning about the scam last week.
According to the warning statement issued by the consumer protection commissioner, Anne Driscoll, the scam involved a group of four men who approached elderly homeowners in the inner-city suburbs of Nedlands, Subiaco and Dianella. They reportedly told people their roof needed repair and offered to carry out the work for a fee, sometimes flashing a business card that carried the name of a legitimate roofing repair business.
That repair business was contacted by one of the people fleeced by the group, Driscoll said, which denied having employed them.
In one case, an elderly man told the agency he had paid $17,000 to the men to have his home and driveway painted. They allegedly painted the driveway but did not return to finish the job. In another, an elderly person paid $12,000 to have their roof repaired but only minor work was completed.
In several cases, the men accompanied their elderly customers to the bank while they withdrew the cash to pay them. In other cases the homeowner reported that the repairmen had actually damaged their roofs.
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