A Penge fraudster, who wrote scripts for romance scammers to use in fake online profiles – including a sob story about a loved one dying in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has been jailed for two years.
Patricia Wutaan, of Royston Road, penned emotional stories to trick lonely men into handing over thousands of pounds to complete strangers on dating websites.
The 55-year-old encouraged con artists to pose as widows struggling with finances after losing their husbands in the 9/11 terrorists attacks.
When police searched her home, officers found an “Aladdin’s cave of fraudsters' scripts and false IDs”.
One script read: "I am a widow. Lost my husband to 9/11 terror attacks in New York.
“He made it out of the collapsed building but he later died because of heavy dust and smoke and he was asthmatic."
The notes also included instructions, which said: "Stay calm and moody until you get his final word."
Another read: "Let him do most of the talking, be sad and worried about taking care of bills for rest of the month.
“When he asks what he can do to help ask him for $2000 - $3000."
Wutaan was convicted by a jury of two counts of possession of articles for use in fraud at Southwark Crown Court on December 10.
An example of one of the scripts
She was also found guilty of three counts of money laundering for £29,267 worth of payments made into her account by a 70-year-old in Switzerland.
Wutaan was sentenced today at the same court.
Detectives from the Central Criminal Finances Team, acting on intelligence, seized £16,300 from Wutaan’s coat pocket, after stopping her in Bromley High Street in February last year.
She claimed the money was from a friend in Switzerland to refurbish her house, but could not recall the friend’s name or address.
Detectives, with assistance from Interpol, then made contact with a German speaking pensioner, living in Switzerland, who had transferred three payments to Wutaan, a month earlier.
He told detectives he was approached by someone using a woman's profile on a dating website, who convinced him to hand over money to help the woman free up funds from her late father's estate.
The victim transferred £70,000 to different bank accounts - including £29,267 to Wutaan's - over a few months.
The money seized from Wutaan will be returned to the victim.
Detective Inspector Pete Ward of the Central Criminal Finances Team, said: "Wutaan's home was an Aladdin's cave of fraudsters' scripts and false IDs.
“It was almost like she was compiling a fraudsters' handbook.
"The scripts she had written demonstrate exactly the kinds of stories that victims are fed by fraudsters; designed to manipulate the victim into feeling sorry for them and wanting to help them.”
He urged anyone using dating sites to be vigilant and anyone who thinks they have been the victim of a similar crime to call Action Fraud on 0300 1232040 or, if the crime is in action, police on 999.