A Salford University student who laundered the proceeds of a £200,000 lonely hearts scam has been jailed for three years.
Emmanuel Jack enjoyed a high-rolling lifestyle after falling in with a ‘Casanova Conman’ conspiracy, were women were tricked into handing over large sums of cash by bogus suitors.
Two of the scam’s eight victims were British and targeted on the Friends Reunited website, while the others were Americans tricked on the US version of Match.com, a Greater Manchester Police investigation revealed.
Manchester Crown Court heard that the women were wooed by a man they believed to be called ‘John Creed’ or ‘Johnny Rissi’. Claiming to be a building contractor or architect working in Europe, the conman spent weeks winning the women over before asking for cash for ‘supplies’.
The first victim handed over £1500 and only realised she had been had when the man asked for another £5,000. She then launched a Facebook page to alert others about the man, attracting the attention of the other British victim, who handed over a total of £2850, before the pair went to police.
Using the account details given to the women, Manchester police discovered the American victims and were able to arrest the scheme’s banker, Emmanuel Jack, who was carrying a brown envelope with £8000 in cash inside at the time. No evidence was found on his computers to link him to the fraud, but he admitted banking the cash for unidentified others.
In return, Jack, who was studying for a Master’s in International Business before arrest, was treated to shopping sprees and nights out.
Jack, 26, of Barton Terrace, Irlam, went on to admit eleven offences of possessing criminal property between August 2011 and April 2012, and one possessing an article for use in fraud in relation to a credit card in a woman’s name he had used.
Defending Jack, who has no previous convictions, Neil Usher said his client came from wealthy and respectable family who were ‘distressed’ at his crime.
“He’s allowed all the chances he has had in life to be ruined by what an only be described as greed. He does feel genuine remorse – he is fundamentally a decent young man.”
In a statement read in court, one victim said: “This whole ordeal has made me feel absolutely awful – I just feel stupid and hurt that I could fall for someone whose sole intention was to take money from me.”
Sentencing, Judge Maureen Roddy said: “These victim have explained the impact this offence had upon them – not only the financial impact, but the emotional impact of finding that trust has been wholly misplaced.”