A group of Irish nationals have been accused of involvement in a roof-fixing scam, in Perth, targeting the elderly.
The Australian government has canceled the visas of 24 people who are being held by the authorities prior to deportation.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) confirmed this decision was made following the execution of a search warrant at a caravan park in Hazelmere, Perth. Seven “people of interest” who were taken into custody and a further 19 people were detained, two were later released. Vehicles linked to the crimes were also removed from the trailer park.
During the raid police found over $120,000 cash and two Rolex watches worth $36,000.
Detective Sergeant Tony Walton said “We are looking at people between 90 and 94 years of age, where they have handed over a considerably large amount of money for this restoration work.
“They have then been quite forceful in relation to getting the money. In some cases they’ve gone back three days in a row to get different sums of money.”
The consumer protection agency said it had received 39 “traveling con men reports” about the roofing scam. The first public warning about the con was issued on January 14.
Australia’s Assistant Minister for immigration, Michaelia Cash, said “The scam involved convincing vulnerable people to part with substantial amounts of money to fix roofing or other home maintenance issues.
“The work was then not completed or even required in the first place.”
Those arrested comprise of five men and two youths – two 17-year-old boys – and 19 women.
The statement continued “All were found to be in Australia on lawfully held visas, however, they were found to be working on visas with strict ‘no work’ conditions.
“This recent operation highlights the ongoing cooperation between my department and state and territory authorities and I commend everyone involved.”