A “callous” conman who fleeced his partner out of £70,000 after “stringing her along” for years has been jailed. Romeo fraudster Andrew Camfield, 59, took so much money from her that she had to borrow cash from her family to meet his demands.
He claimed to be due an inheritance, but the money never materialised.
The victim, Louise Wynne, was first introduced to Camfield by a pal at Christmas 2018.
An “intense” relationship began and by February 2019 Camfield had started to ask Louise for financial assistance. Camfield continued to defraud Louise who said she was “so in love” with him that she didn’t see any warning signs.
He used false promises and manipulation to exploit her financially.
When Louise’s own funds ran low, she was forced to borrow money from her family to satisfy his voracious demands. Louise’s son, who first raised concerns that his mother was being defrauded by Camfield, reported him to the police.
A widespread investigation began, led by Detective Constable Andy Mountford-Laker of Sussex Police, culminating in Camfield being charged with fraud by false representation last June.
Camfield, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, who had pleaded guilty in March this year, was sentenced to a total of seven years imprisonment when he appeared at Hove Crown Court [on Thursday May 25].
Sentencing Camfield, Judge Siobhan Kelly told him: “This was a prolonged and sophisticated fraud. You engaged in a relationship, you deceived Louise through elaborate lies defrauding her out of a significant amount of money.
“You lied throughout the relationship making up elaborate lies stringing her along. This was a truly callous and calculated set of actions which breached her trust.”
Louise said: “I was so in love with Andrew I didn’t see any warning signs or red flags.With hindsight, if only I had confided in my close friends about the financial aspect of the relationship sooner, perhaps things would have been different.
“It’s not only the financial devastation, but the emotional heartache I’ve suffered and the ongoing lack of trust I now experience, alongside feelings of being judged for my perceived naivety.”
Bernadette Lawrie, Sussex Police’s Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer, said: “It is incredibly brave of Louise to come forward and share her experiences with others, as victims all too often feel ashamed and embarrassed, blaming themselves for the actions of these heartless and ruthless criminals.
“By opening up about the impact of the fraud it is hoped that others may identify with the situation and seek support or realise this may be happening to someone close to them.”
Louise is now receiving ongoing emotional support from Victim Support’s Vulnerable Fraud Caseworkers, paid for by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, to rebuild her confidence, relationships, and trust to move forward from the devastation she has suffered in the past few years.
The Caseworkers also run a peer-to-peer support group specifically for romance fraud victims, providing a platform enabling them to share their experiences with others who have been victims of the same crime type.
Ms Bourne said: “Romance Fraud is an extremely cruel crime because it plays on someone’s vulnerabilities affecting them financially and emotionally. Often, the victim is lulled into a false sense of security and trust and is completely blindsided by the fraudster’s actions. It can even negatively impact their health.”
She added: “I am pleased to be able to offer support to victims of romance fraud. By specifically funding some Vulnerable Fraud Caseworkers, local residents who have fallen prey to these vile fraudsters, are able to come to terms with what they have experienced and begin to rebuild trust in others once more.”