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Woman avoids jail after defrauding ill man out of more than £10,000

16
Apr
2018

A 40-year-old woman living in Dagenham has avoided jail after defrauding a vulnerable man out of thousand of pounds.

Yulanda Panayiotou, of Lindisfrane Avenue, befriended her victim, who is in his 60s and was suffering from ill-health, by offering to do jobs and help him around the house.

After gaining the man’s trust, Panayiotou offered to do some shopping so he lent her his credit card.

However she never gave it back and then stole another bank card.

Panayiotou began opening accounts and intercepting the victim’s mail. She went to his house every day, continuing to do jobs around the home.

The fraud started in August 2016 and the man then reported it to police in November 2016.

In total, he lost around £10,500.

Panayiotou was charged in July 2017 with 11 counts of fraud and three of theft of credit cards and a bank book to which she pleaded not guilty.

She told a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court that she couldn’t have committed the offences because she was wheelchair-bound.

She even attended every single hearing in a wheelchair.

CCTV images showed Panayiotou walking but she claimed to be wheelchair bound.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Neil Wakeling, from Romford police, said: “There was overwhelming evidence against her including independent witnesses, CCTV evidence of her walking around a shop and a sighting by myself of her running. A jury took less than two hours to convict her on all counts.”

She was handed a 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to complete 80 hours’ unpaid work.

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