Senior scammed down to her last $100

Michele Mandel, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:06 PM ET

TORONTO -- Elderly widow Anne Opfermann agreed to get her chimney fixed after the nice man came to her door and spoke in her native German.

Within weeks, though, the frail, 92-year-old legally blind senior was writing cheque after cheque for more repairs that she was told were critical -- 30 cheques in all over a six-week period. Her life savings of $160,000 were wiped out and there was just $100 left in her bank account before the police stepped in and sent the construction workers packing.

"They were trying to talk her into mortgaging her home so she could pay for more 'necessary' repairs," says her friend, Willi Strohl, 76.

"I kept saying, 'Don't betray me, please,'" adds Opfermann, as we sit on the porch of her beautiful Arts and Crafts-style west-end home that she and her late husband purchased in 1969.

But betray her they did, she says.

A Superior Court judge this week called the despicable actions of Scotty Eisemann and Anthony Taylor of Taylor Made Construction "unconscionable and exploitative" in their taking advantage of an old woman who made the mistake of trusting them. In Opfermann's civil action against the Richmond Hill, Ont., men, Justice Graeme Mew awarded her $132,206 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in aggravated damages.

"She has experienced anxiety and humiliation," he wrote. "The defendants have by their actions hurt this dignified lady and robbed her of the comfort, security and enjoyment that she associated with living at her home. Things there will never be quite the same."

It began in February 2012 when Eisemann, an independent contractor working with Taylor Made Construction, knocked on her door to warn that her chimney would collapse if it wasn't fixed. She agreed to the work and wrote two cheques totalling $6,480.

The judge accepted these initial repairs as legitimate. But he found the remaining $132,000-worth of repairs was the result of undue pressure on an elderly woman who could barely read the cheques Eisemann was filling out for her.


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