The couple, in their 80s, is believed to have given the India-based group more than $300,000 -- their entire life savings -- believing they would receive the money back plus an administration fee.
When the couple ran out of money, the fraudsters pretended to be a private agency working to recoup the lost funds -- while charging another fee to do so. They sent the couple about $6,000 collected from other victims and asked them to send it back, effectively laundering stolen funds.
North Yorkshire County police said the couple were so convinced the con men were on their side they refused to stop wiring them money until they were threatened with arrest.
"Whatever happened we had to stop this," Detective Inspector Ian Willis said. "We had to put a warning shot across their bow. If I didn't know their history, they would have been arrested straight away."
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