A Sheffield conwoman who duped a charity and several businessmen during a £500,000 fraud spree will only have to pay back £1 after blowing the money on online bingo.
Katrina Jones, who used the alias Kate David in the city, was sentenced to six years in prison in June after admitting a string of fraud offences – including plundering £88,000 from a dog charity’s bank account.
The 53-year-old had been a wanted woman since 2004 when she was featured on TV show Crimewatch after tricking three rich businessmen into buying properties which she claimed had been repossessed by HM Treasury.
But Jones will not have to return a penny of the stolen cash because she frittered it all away on online bingo sites – including one called Jackpot Joy – at a rate of £20,000 per week.
At a proceeds of crime hearing, Cardiff Crown Court was told Jones will only be forced to hand back the money on her release from jail if prosecutors find she still has winnings stashed away.
During the trial earlier this year, the court heard she conned the businessmen in South Wales and London between April and July 2004, netting herself nearly £400,000.
Her scam unravelled when one of the businessmen became suspicious about the house sales.
He called the Treasury only to discover Jones was not an employee and that properties are never sold in the way.
When her picture was broadcast, she fled to Australia – before later returning to the United Kingdom using the name Kate David.
She is thought to have lived on Ormond Road, Jordanthorpe, with her partner Mark Wren, and had two children.
Jones then befriended the founder of an animal charity in Cornwall, who was losing her husband to a terminal illness, and became the charity’s treasurer.
She took £88,000 from the K9 Crusaders’ bank account - which should have been used to redevelop the charity’s premises.
But Jones instead gambled the cash and splashed out on a lavish lifestyle.
She was finally arrested in December 2014 and was charged with more than 29 offences of theft and fraud.
Sentencing her, Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “There is no evidence to suggest any money you received from the frauds was spent on anything or anyone other than yourself.
“You are a cold-blooded, evil and malevolent confidence trickster.”
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