Canberra man Amarish Patel spared jail time for his role in scamming $70,000 from 65-year-old woman

Canberra man Amarish Patel spared jail time for his role in scamming $70,000 from 65-year-old woman

Thursday 28/09/2023
Amarish Patel (right) has been placed on a six-month good behaviour order for his involvement in scamming a 65-year-old woman.(ABC News: Elizabeth Byrne)

Amarish Patel, 29, pleaded guilty to collecting $7,000 in cash and attempting to possess $4,000 cash after being approached by others to get the money from the woman.

The extortion began last year, when the 65-year-old woman received a phone call demanding $10,000 which the caller said she owed to the 'NCA'.

The woman told police she thought that was the National Crime Authority, but denied owing money to anyone.

She said the caller then threatened her, telling her he would send someone around to "knock her off".

Court documents revealed the woman would then regularly withdraw money and give it to a man who would approach her house along the street.

A Canberra court has found a man charged over a scam — which netted $70,000 from a Canberra woman — was only a "bit player" in a wider crime.

The crime came to light when the victim started asking friends for money to meet the demands of the scammers.

Eventually, it was reported to police who set up a sting for the next collection.

The court heard that Patel was arrested as he came to collect the money.

But it later emerged he was only a courier


On Monday, his lawyer Michael Kukulies-Smith told the court Patel was paid $200 for each trip.

"There is some profit-making, but it's not outrageously high," he said.

Mr Kukulies-Smith said Patel had limited involvement, driven by his naivety.

Magistrate Jane Campbell agreed, saying Patel appeared to have been caught up in "what seems to be someone else's fraudulent process".

She also accepted that he had not made any threats against the woman.

The pick-ups were arranged by text.

Magistrate Campbell said it was a complex arrangement and the others involved were still unknown.

"It allows the main players in the extortion racket to remain anonymous," she said.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had been left with anxiety and had at times stayed away from home because she said they were threatening to kill her on the phone.

"I do not feel safe at my house because of fears the scammers would come back to [get] me," the victim said.

The court accepted Patel's remorse, and he has been given a six-month good behaviour order.

Story by: Elizabeth Byrne


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