Scammer-of-the-elderly Denise Greig does it again


Staff member
A woman jailed for phone scamming the elderly has done it again. This time a 93-year-old woman was one of Denise Greig's victims.

Christchurch District Court Judge John Strettell jailed Greig for 20 months.

Banks reimbursed her latest victims after the scammers raided $50,000 from their accounts. Judge Strettell did not order a partial reparations payment by 31-year-old Greig because he said it was not realistic.

In early 2016, police launched Operation Diana to investigate a group of scammers targeting elderly victims by phoning and telling them their power would be cut off because of a bank card problem.

After conning the PIN number from the victims, the scammers would usually arrive and exchange a Pressie card for their "faulty" bank card – then clean out the account.

That group, including Greig, ripped off $300,000 from its victims, and she was eventually jailed for 13 months for her role in the scam.

Late in 2016, police launched Operation Eclipse when they realised a group was back in action, with a more complex bank account structure.

Greig was out of prison and again involved, apparently using her experience from the previous scheme.

She was arrested and has remained in custody on two charges of causing a loss by deception, two charges of shoplifting and a breach of her prison release conditions. She pleaded guilty.

Judge Strettell detailed the offending. It involved a similar scheme, but with money processed through a layer of "mule" bank accounts. The victims were a 69-year-old couple and a 93-year-old woman.

Defence counsel Ruth Buddicom acknowledged Greig was a "frequent" offender, but she was prepared to make determined efforts to distance herself from her associates.

Her drug addictions drove her offending. She had some counselling in prison.

Judge Strettell assessed Greig as being at about the "middle level" of the new group. He accepted she received a limited amount of the scam proceeds.

"But I take into account the impact that this has on a vulnerable part of society," he said. "The defendant is a woman with a serious history of dishonesty, based primarily on her dependency on drugs, and that has played a crucial part in her life to date."

He imposed the 20-month jail term and ruled out home detention. Greig will have six months of release conditions after the sentence.