Confidence trickster jailed - Luton

25/09/2015

Confidence trickster Maria Nistor, who targeted a succession of sugar daddies and made nearly half-a-million pounds in two-and-a-half years, was jailed for five years when she appeared at Luton Crown Court on Friday, 25 September 2015.

Blonde haired Nistor, from Romania, used her charms to beguile her victims and got them to hand over huge sums of cash after being taken in by her stings. They included bogus property deals in which she offered the men lucrative investment opportunities. But they never got a penny back and a court heard how they have been left embarrassed and angry at having been duped by the pretty 31-year-old.

One man has had to sell his home and lost his life savings, another had to cash in his pension and can no longer afford to send send his children to university.

Between 2011 and 2013 Nistor, who lived with her daughter and Romanian partner in Luton, Bedfordshire, made a staggering £488,000 from five victims who were taken in by her tall tales and get-rich-quick schemes. Amazingly, the court was told, some of the men, who are all in their 50s and 60s and divorced or single, worked in the financial industries.

Nistor, of Barton Road, Luton, pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to five counts of fraud by false representation.

Prosecutor Michael Attenborough told how police in Luton began looking into Nistor's activities after discovering she had paid £70,000 into her bank account which appeared to come from two of of the men. As the investigation continued it was discovered more men had given Nistor money. They were traced and were spoken to by detectives and revealed they had met Nistor through online dating agencies. Her victims were from across the south of England, Scotland and one man lived abroad.

Mr Attenborough said the agencies included Sugadaddies.com and Match.com.

It became apparent to the police that Nistor, who liked driving high end cars and wearing designer clothes, had set out to befriend older men looking for relationships.

The prosecutor said her scams involved telling her victims her father had died back in Romania and his home was being repossessed. She told them if they were prepared to lend her money, she could buy it for a bargain price and then sell it at a profit. They would not only get their money back, she told them, but there would be a bonus.

Another tall tale she employed to trick victims was to tell them her ex-partner had been a diplomat and had 'gifted' her an £800,000 property. She claimed that if she could come up with money to pay the tax on the property, it would be hers to sell at a huge profit and anyone who helped her raise the money needed would be repaid with interest.

Another variation of the scam involved a claim that the "diplomat" had left her his high end diplomatic car and she needed money to pay the tax on it and transfer it into her name.

Mr Attenborough said one victim who had joined SugarDaddies.com in 2009 never actually met Nistor. He only ever saw her through Skype links and photographs. Even so, he handed over £132,138 to her. When he eventually made arrangements to meet her at Norwich Airport she never showed up. Another victim did meet her and she went for dinner on three occasions at his home.

The prosecutor told the court he paid a high price, telling the court: "He has lost all his life savings, due to his interactions with this defendant. He has lost his home, he lives with his mother and had sold his pension." In total, the man had lost £137,901 to Nistor.

A third victim, who met her at a Reading hotel, lost £14,475 and a fourth man handed over £15,750, having borrowed the money from family and friends. He was said to be suffering early depression because of what had happened.

A fifth man met Nistor through SugarDaddies.com: He was looking for a long term relationship and he arranged to meet at a hotel in Park Lane in London. She went to his home on three occasions, said Mr Attenborough and he ended up giving her £187,756 after being taken in by her stories. "He has had to cash in his pension, may have to sell his house and cannot pay for his son to go to university," he said.

Anthony Bell, defending, said Nistor was of previous good character, apart from one road traffic matter, and was now anxious for her 13-year-old daughter who would be looked after by her partner while she was in prison. He went on: "These men are not vulnerable, they may have been unwise in the way they continued to deal with Miss Nistor, but each was a professional or businessman of some experience. There were no threats made or attempts to blackmail and no suggestion of a possible future relationship with Miss Nistor." He said she was now "remorseful" for what she'd done and wanted to pay back money to her victims.

Judge Stuart Bridge jailed Nistor for five years and she now faces a confiscation hearing at a later date.

The Judge told her: "Over two and a half years you sought out middle aged men in their 50s and 60s and registered on dating websites. You managed to extort nearly half a million pounds from five individuals." He then told her: "They were actively seeking long term relationships - that's what they said in their statements." He said none of the money had been recovered because apart from what Nistor had spent on "designer clothes and accessories" it had been transferred overseas.

Judge bridge told Nistor her victims had been "intelligent, educated men" who, in some cases, worked in the world of finance. Even so, he said they had been taken in by her and then found themselves cruelly exploited.

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