A Sheffield conwoman who duped an animal charity and several businessmen during a £500,000 fraud spree has been jailed.
Katrina Jones, aged 52, was sentenced to six years in prison after admitting a string of fraud offences - including plundering £88,000 from a dog charity’s bank account.
Jones had been a ‘wanted woman’ since 2004, when she appeared on Crimewatch after tricking three rich businessmen into buying properties which she claimed had been repossessed by HM Treasury.
When her picture was broadcast, she fled to Australia and later returned to this country using a different name.
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 subsequently took £88,000 from the ‘K9 Crusaders’ bank account – which should have been used to redevelop the charity’s premises. She instead gambled it and splashed out on a lavish lifestyle for herself.
At Cardiff Crown Court, 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.”
Jones was finally arrested in December 2014 and was charged with more than 29 offences of theft and fraud with a value of over £500,000.
Investigative officer Det Con Dave Skelton, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “K9 crusaders received a significant donation which was aimed to fund the redevelopment of their premises.
“However, Jones diverted a substantial amount of this money to fund her own gambling and lifestyle. This resulted in significant financial hardship for the charity as they struggled to meet their financial commitments.
“We are pleased with the outcome and sentence given to Jones, and we hope this shows that we take this type of crime very seriously and will endeavor to prosecute offenders and those who take advantage of their positions, like Jones did in her role as a treasurer for a charity.”
IN OTHER NEWS: