A FRAUDSTER who was one of the masterminds behind a multimillion-pound scam has been allowed home visits just weeks after being jailed.
More than 80 pensioners lost their life-savings after being targeted by a Wearside mob, headed by George Abrue and involving his wife Sarah Robson.
The gang, including members of the same Sunderland family, used strong-arm sales tactics to make more than £13million by flogging fake shares from abroad.
They then went on to live a life of international luxury, snapping up Spanish apartments and luxury sports cars, including a Rolls Royce, a Bentley, a Ferrari, a Maserati and a BMW.
In June, ringleader Abrue, 30, of Washington, admitted conspiracy to defraud and money laundering and was jailed for five years.
Robson, 25, was also found guilty of the same charges and was put behind bars for 21 months.
But just over three months after being jailed, Robson is already enjoying a taste of freedom as many of her victims face losing their homes and trying to rebuild their lives after being conned out of their cash.
Robson, who is serving time at Askham Grange open prison, near York, has been allowed home to enjoy a weekend at her three-bed Houghton home.
Among the many victims of the gang was a retired doctor in his 80s.
He lost £1million and was convinced to remortgage his home after being caught up in the scam. Another woman lost £850,000.
The fraud was first flagged up on the City of London Police’s radar in August 2009, when its National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) was contacted by a stream of people claiming to have lost cash after being cold-called.
The NFIB used this intelligence to build a picture of how the scam was operating.
City of London Police launched an investigation and quickly uncovered how Abrue was recruiting former colleagues from the telesales industry to work for him.
They were trained in Malaga and then moved to offices in Majorca, where they operated pressurising people into buying shares in non-existent companies.
In December 2009, the City of London Police led a national operation that saw 11 people arrested in the Northumbria Police and three others in Manchester, Derbyshire and London.
On the same day, Abrue was detained in Sweden and several months later extradited back to the UK to be charged.