South Yorkshire fraudster is dubbed a "danger to young women" after he conned two ex-partners
A judge has described a fraudster as “a danger to young women” after he conned two former partners and one of their mothers out of more than £20,000.
Sheffield Crown Court heard on March 16 how Joseph Element, aged 25, of The Crescent, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Rotherham, told a string of lies to the women as he borrowed money which he never paid back.
Judge Sarah Wright told Element: “You wove a web of deceit and betrayed them leaving them heartbroken and bereft.”
Prosecuting barrister Matthew Burdon said Element struck up a relationship with the first of the two partners and told her he had been a captain in the Army and Military Police and he had been discharged after he was injured during an explosion in Afghanistan.
Element conned this woman out of £4,930 and also conned her mother out of so much money she had to take out a £12,000 loan to cover her losses, according to Mr Burdon.
Mr Burdon said Element’s first partner loaned him money after he claimed he needed to pay for expenses and costs while he was doing a police training course.
Her mother also loaned Element money after he said he needed cash for a new vehicle, according to Mr Burdon, and for a compensation claim after he had claimed he used to have a dog which bit a postman.
Mr Burdon said Element also asked this complainant to be a guarantor for a loan and he requested further money for a supposed police training course.
Element met a subsequent partner on Tinder and he called himself Ezra Kearns as he conned her out of £7,284, according to Mr Burdon.
Mr Burdon added Element told this woman he was an Army officer and she loaned him money for a phone, a non-existent mortgage, alleged court payments and a supposed work transfer.
Element was convicted during a previous trial in his absence to two counts of fraud by false representation relating to the first partner between June and September, 2018, and her mother between September, 2017, and September, 2018.
He also pleaded guilty at a hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court in January to fraud by false representation committed between January and April, 2019, relating to the subsequent partner.
Richard Onslow, defending, said: “In 2017 he got into a terrible financial tangle and his thinking was that he would tell untruths to get out of it and clearly they were plausible untruths and as time developed he began borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.”
He added: “His desire to repay is assessed as being genuine and he has looked himself square in the eye and expresses remorse and some understanding for what he’s done.”
Judge Wright told Element he has caused “emotional and psychological damage” and she described him as a “conman” and a “fearful liar”.
She said: “The effect of your offending has been far-reaching. You may not have been violent but you’re nevertheless a danger to young women.”
Judge Wright added: “I’m quite sure you targeted young women and fed them a diet of lies until you gained their trust.”
She sentenced Element to two years and six months of custody.