Today, [Friday 23 September] the Royal Court sentenced two women to a total of 480 hours of community service for defrauding an elderly victim of over £17,000. They were also ordered to repay their victim by way of a Compensation Order.
Shannon Bellas aged 26 and Amanda Louis aged 53, both received 240 hours community service each and were ordered to pay back £400 and £350 per month respectively, until they have paid everything back. Any default of payment will result in a six month prison term.
Between April 2019 and November 2020, Bellas and Louis fraudulently requested financial assistance from the victim, an 83 year old man, which over time amounted a total loss for the victim of £17,344. They persistently provided untruths as to why money was needed and continually lied to the victim with the intent to deceive. The victim believed the defendants to be his friends and genuinely believed the reasons they gave for needing financial help.
Bellas received 103 payments totalling £11,317.09 ranging from £30 to £200 and she persistently requested funds despite the victim advising her that they were struggling on a small pension. In one instance she lied and harassed the victim by sending 22 text messages regarding one loan of just £80.
Louis received 44 payments totalling £6,027 from the victim, mostly stating the money was for travel or living expenses. None of these reasons were true.
It was decided not to impose custodial sentences to ensure that Bellas and Louis maintained their employment to pay the funds back.
Detective Inspector Aiden Quenault of the Joint Financial Crime Unit said “This case demonstrates the lengths that fraudsters will go to in order to obtain money for their own gain, no matter who the victim. It serves as a reminder that although the defendants in this case targeted a specific individual, everyone in the community needs to be vigilant to the potential of being the victim of fraud. The details of who, why and when should always be checked where money is being sent, loaned or transferred to anyone else. Further information on frauds and scams can be found on the States of Jersey Police website. “
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