Career conman jailed for cheating vulnerable women.

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A career conman has been jailed for four years for defrauding three women out of money and potentially derailing their attempts to keep custody of their children.

Stephen Davey
Stephen Davey

The Crown Prosecution Service said that Stephen Davey, 49, claimed to be “Steven Burns” and told the women, aged 37, 43 and 45, that he was a police officer, offender manager and a probation worker. He said a friend of his called 'Simon Davey' was a lawyer and he could help two of them with their proceedings in the Family Court. It was all lies.

On 16 August 2019 at Liverpool Crown Court he pleaded guilty to two fraud charges, one theft charge, one charge of making articles to commit fraud and one charge of having materials to commit a fraud. The offences were committed  between January 2019 and 15 April 2019. The court ruled that the women cannot be named. He was sentenced to four years in jail at Liverpool Crown Court today (5 9 2019).

The court today also imposed a 10-year restraining order, that states he must not contact any of the women or go  to their addresses. He also must not enter the Tune hotel in Liverpool, where he had been living when he committed the offences. A Proceeds of Crime timetable was also set to recoup as much as possible of the money he took from the women.

The defendant, posing as 'Steven Burns', a police officer and probation officer, met the first woman in January 2019 in a bar in Warrington where she worked. She asked him if he would help her friend who was going through the Family Courts to retain custody of her children. She had been the victim of domestic violence by her estranged ex-husband.

The defendant said his friend ‘Simon Davey’ was a family law solicitor and would help her friend who was struggling to pay for legal representation.

‘Simon Davey’ did not exist. Over the next four months the Defendant, posing as ‘Simon Davey’, took payment from the woman to ‘represent her’ at court. He also claimed he had ‘hired a private investigator’ to follow her ex-husband, and charged her for the service. In total he took £8000 from her.

He told the woman not to attend Court and that ‘Simon Davey’ would represent her, in her absence.  No-one attended,  leaving her unrepresented.

He went on to tell the woman that she had been granted full custody of her children and compensation, none of which was true. He also told her on occasions to keep her children off school and produced fake legal documents and emails from Warrington Borough Council, purporting to be about her ex-husband's parental rights.

Under the name of ‘Steven Burns’ and claiming to be a Police Officer, he:

  • Sent the woman fake screen shots, claiming they were from the police and said that the police were involved in an operation to arrest one of the women’s ex-husband for 14 offences; including terrorism and possession of indecent images of children. 
  • Told her that her ex-husband’s citizenship was being revoked and he was being deported.
  • Forged a fake email from the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, claiming that her ex-husband was going to be arrested.

He also talked her into giving him money for  furniture, trips, hotels, an engagement ring for the woman he’d met in the bar, that he was now having a sexual relationship with, a laptop and money for private scans, alleging he feared he had cancer. 

The Defendant was then introduced to another friend of the two women. She was also in family law proceedings against her ex-husband following domestic abuse. She wanted a non-molestation to be put in place to protect herself and her daughter. He referred her to ‘Simon Davey’ and she then paid ‘Simon Davey’ £475 in total and was told that the order was now in place, to protect her and her daughter. No application was ever made.

His exploits came to light when staff at the Tune Hotel in Castle Street in Liverpool where he’d been staying became suspicious and googled his name. They found a series of news articles about earlier frauds he’d committed. A member of staff confronted him via the social media platform WhatsApp and Davey never returned to the hotel, leaving behind his possessions.

Fake police lanyard
Fake police lanyard

Staff at the hotel contacted the police. His bedroom was searched by the police and various articles were recovered that he’d used as part of his frauds, including police lanyards and files provided by the women to ‘Simon Davey’.

Nardeen Nemat, from Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Stephen Davey is a serial fraudster whose behaviour showed a disregard for the havoc and heartache he created in the lives of the people he conned.

“The women thought he was trying to help them with difficult family problems, yet he just made things so much worse.  By telling the women that his ‘solicitor friend’ was dealing with the Family Court matters and that they didn’t need to attend Court could have derailed their hopes of maintaining  custody of their children.

“His behavior was reckless and heartless. Thankfully the women found the courage and perseverance to support this prosecution and help the Crown Prosecution Service build a strong case - so strong that Davey pleaded guilty at an early stage.

"The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank these women for their help in this case and wishes them well for the future.”

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