One Grace Akintaro, 24 is facing jail-term in the UK after she was convicted of fraud by false representation, having conned seven men out of over £100,000 in an elaborate romance scam
She pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud at Woolwich crown court on Monday, stating that someone masterminded the whole fraud.
“I was naive and used by this person I was in love with,” she said.
She was charged alongside one Victoria Nwogu, 22, who confessed to laundering £3,490 from the scam. She was however cleared when the prosecution offered no evidence against her.
Grace posed as a woman named Amanda Jenson and persuaded the men, who thought they had found love, to loan her travel expenses for meetings that never happened.
The fraud took place between August 2014 and December 2015, prosecutors said.
One victim gave her some of the insurance payout he’d received following his wife’s death, while another handed her more than £46,000. She chatted with the men online, and spoke to at least two of them on the phone
The court heard that Grace made at least 16 trips to the bank to withdraw the money sent by the men. She was however found with a couple of hundred pounds and a £5,000 Renault Clio. She said the remaining money was shared among other members in the fraud.
According to prosecutor Kevin Dent, “There would have to be a female involved and that was Miss Akintaro. She may not have been at the top of this, but played a role over a period of time.”
“These were romance frauds and the fact I am ordering a pre-sentence report is no indication as to the sentence. There is a real prospect she will go to prison,” Judge Nicholas Heathcote Williams QC told Grace, adding that the men had suffered psychologically and financially.
“They were expecting to get their money back, they thought they were loaning the money,” he said.
Four of the victims reported to the police in 2014 after finding out that they had been conned. Following investigation, detectives discovered three other victims, adding that there may be more.