- Cheryl Mitchell, 41, pretended to be in a relationship with Alexander Hepburn
- She made him think they would go on holiday and got him to buy £1,346 of euros
- She also took £28,387 from his bank account, depositing the cash into her own
A romance fraudster with a string of previous convictions has admitted scamming an 86-year-old man out of nearly £30,000 after targeting him on a dating website.
Cheryl Mitchell, also known as Joss, pretended to be in a relationship with pensioner Alexander Hepburn so she could steal money from him and make fraudulent credit applications in his name.
The 41-year-old duped him into thinking they would go on holiday together and persuaded him to buy £1,346 worth of euros – although she had no intention of going.
She also funnelled £28,387 from his bank account into hers in numerous transactions, claiming that some of the money was to be used for caring for her sister. Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that despite Mitchell’s actions, Mr Hepburn has visited her in jail, where she was held on remand.
But Mitchell is now ‘realistic’ about being sent to prison after appearing from custody and admitting three counts of fraud and theft carried out between October 2021 and February 2022. She has served previous prison sentences for theft and fraud, and was out on parole when she targeted Mr Hepburn after meeting him online.
In 2017, she was jailed for five years after posing as an employee of the Department for Work and Pensions, Aberdeen City Council and utility companies in order to take tens of thousands of pounds from vulnerable older people. Mitchell also has theft and fraud convictions dating back to 2001, and was jailed for 36 weeks in 2015 for a £10,500 benefit fraud after claiming she was a widow struggling to raise two children when her husband was alive and well.
Yesterday the court heard that, as well as taking money from Mr Hepburn, she pretended to be him while making an online loan application to HSBC for £15,500.
Mitchell also admitted trying to buy a £35,000 Audi Q3 car while pretending to be the OAP in another online application, and using Mr Hepburn’s credit card to pay a £1,000 deposit on a BMW 4 Series car without his knowledge or permission, at a showroom in Kintore, Aberdeenshire.
The court heard the total value of all the frauds and thefts she committed against Mr Hepburn added up to £81,463.
Defence counsel John Macleod said Mitchell, of Aberdeen, was feeling ‘realistic’ about being jailed again, but he added: ‘This is a highly unusual case in reference to the complainer’s attitude towards Ms Mitchell.
‘He has visited her six times in the course of her incarceration and has also sent letters.’
Mitchell will appear before Sheriff Morag McLaughlin for sentencing on July 24 following background reports.