Man jailed for pretending to administer fake Covid 19 vaccine
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A man has been jailed for three and a half years for pretending to administer a fake Covid 19 vaccine to an elderly lady and defrauding her out of £140.
David Chambers, 33 (23.08.87), of Hook Rise North, Surbiton, was arrested on Wednesday 13 January 2021 at a friend’s address in Surrey by officers from the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), together with the Metropolitan Police and Surrey Police, after going on the run following a public appeal.
He was charged on Thursday 14 January 2021 with two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of common assault and remanded in custody until appearing today (Friday 13 August 2021) at Kingston Crown Court.
Today the judge, Recorder Hannah Kinch at Kingston Crown Court, described Chambers’ actions as “shameful and despicable” and sentenced him to three and a half years in prison.
He was also given a criminal behaviour order (CBO) for seven years that will restrict him from approaching members of the public and offering any type of work service.*
T/Detective Inspector, Kevin Ives, from the City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, said:
“This was a heartless and shocking offence with David Chambers showing a complete disregard of an elderly woman’s health, exploiting public concern during this global pandemic.
“We are grateful to members of the public for the large amount of information received following our appeal, which led to this arrest. Make no mistake: this will have stopped other members of the public being defrauded and assaulted. There could very easily have been more people whose lives were endangered whilst believing they had been vaccinated against this deadly virus.
“The Metropolitan Police Service’s specialist man-hunt team, along with Metropolitan Police detectives, gave crucial assistance during this investigation and it demonstrates how effective partnership working is.
“It is important to remember the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never visit your home unannounced or ask for bank details, PIN numbers or passwords, when contacting you about a vaccination. If you receive any communication purporting to be from the NHS asking for payment, bank details or personal details contact your local police force and report to Action Fraud via https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/.”
The case originated when Chambers went to the address of an elderly lady on Wednesday 30 December 2020, between 2:00pm and 3:00pm, and stated he was from the NHS and there to administer the Covid 19 vaccine. The victim allowed the man inside her home and was reportedly touched on the arm with what she described as a ‘dart like implement’.
The man then asked for £140, which the victim paid, as he said it would be reimbursed by the NHS, before leaving the premises. On Monday 4 January 2021, Chambers went to the victim’s address again, and asked for a further £100. On Friday 08 January, CCTV images were released as part of an appeal for anyone with information, CCTV or dashcam footage to come forward.
Maryam Arnott, from the CPS, said
“David Chambers has a criminal history of exploiting elderly people. On this occasion, he used fears generated by the pandemic to cynically extract funds from a 92-year-old woman. He also placed someone in a high-risk category at risk of Covid transmission, at a time when Tier 3 restrictions were in force.
“The CPS and City of London Police presented a strong case against Chambers, and he eventually admitted being responsible for all three offences.
“The CPS is committed to bringing fraudsters, including those who have exploited the Covid 19 pandemic for their own gain, to justice.”
I’ve lived in Surbiton all my life and I have never been subjected to such a deceitful and horrific crime.
It has been a difficult few months coming to terms with the reality that someone could go to such lengths to defraud a person. Knowing first hand someone would use the Covid 19 vaccination process to scam money from the elderly is very harrowing.
I hope this doesn’t deter people from getting vaccinated. It is important people are aware of these scams and always check the validity of what people say when they contact you by phone or knock on your door. These scams are on the rise and they specifically target the elderly. This person posed as an NHS employee with a fake lanyard and gained access to my home.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to City of London Police for operating a swift, thorough and diligent investigation. Not only were they able to catch the perpetrator extremely quickly they kept me and my family informed throughout the whole process.
Finally, thank you to my family and especially my neighbours, and I hope the awareness of such scams continues to prevent any further victims in the future.