Penge romance scam scriptwriter who conned men out of money jailed for two years
PUBLISHED: 14:49 15 January 2016 | UPDATED: 14:49 15 January 2016
She was first arrested two years ago
A Penge woman who wrote scripts for romance scammers to use, and laundered money from a 70-year-old has been jailed for two years.
Patricia Wutaan, 55, Royston Road, Penge, wrote scripts lying about the death of a husband in the September 11 attacks in New York, and continued money woes to scam people out of money.
She was first arrested on High Street Bromley in February 2014, where officers found £16,300 in her coat pocket.
Wutaan claimed the money was from a friend in Switzerland to be spent on refurbishment - but could not remember their name or address.
As police continued their investigation they discovered handwritten scripts and instructions for fraudsters to use in romance scams.
Some of the text from the scripts included: “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.”
“I’ve not been in a relationship since demise of late husband. I am in London to meet family attorney of late husband to negotiate on how to clear the identified assets he left me. He left me a vague will with some conditions to meet before I could access the assets and cash he left me in his will. I must be able to prove to the family attorney that I have moved on with my life and show I am engaged with someone else.
The scripts also offered advice on how to get money, including: “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 eventually admitted to writing the notes, after initially denying any involvement.
Working with Interpol, it was discovered a man in Switzerland had transferred a total of £29,267 to her over the course of a few months to what he thought was a woman he’d met on a dating website.
Wutaan was sentenced yesterday (Thursday) after she was found guilty of three counts of money laundering and two counts of possession of articles for use in fraud (scripts and false IDs) in December.
DC Claire Palin, 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.
“I urge anyone using a dating site to question what they are being told by other ‘daters’, especially when they are being asked for money or personal details. If you think you have been a victim, please don’t be embarrassed - tell police, so we can try and stop the fraudsters.”