Court John Weekes

Elderly scam victim sentenced over romance fraud

AN ELDERLY scam victim has fallen foul of the law after he allowed an online temptress to transfer money into his bank account.

Clifford Stanley Perrin, 77, pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud when he appeared before Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The court heard Perrin had been vulnerable and alone after the death of his mother.

He had lost contact with his daughter, was divorced from his wife in the '70s and he'd had no meaningful relationships since then.

Perrin, who is partially blind and deaf, reached out online in an effort to form friendships and romantic relationships.

It was while chatting online that he met Stella.

Defence lawyer Daniel Ould said Stella requested money from Perrin in order to travel to Australia.

In total it was estimated he had given her about $100,000.

After taking Perrin's money, Stella asked him if she could transfer funds into his bank account.

Mr Ould said Stella had hacked email addresses and was scamming real estates by asking them to make rental payments into Perrin's account.

About $7700 was stolen by Stella and transferred by Perrin into her account.

Mr Ould said it was clear in Perrin's bank statements that the money was coming from real estates and he was suspicious about the activity.

"His desperation for the relationship to be real has caused him to not think clearly about his actions."

He had no prior criminal history.

Magistrate Stephen Guttridge sentenced Perrin to three months in prison, wholly suspended, with an operational period of 12 months.

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