Fraudster jailed for six years after stealing more than £40,000 from victims he met on social media
PUBLISHED: 16:36 17 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:54 18 December 2018
A fraudster who used social media to hunt for victims before tricking them into thinking he was in a relationship with them has been jailed for six years after stealing more than £40,000.
Mark Grace, 30, of Corton Road in Lowestoft, was convicted of four counts of fraud and one count of theft when he appeared before Norwich Crown Court last month.
And on Friday, December 14, he was sentenced to six years imprisonment for the crimes, which he committed between August 2016 and November 2018 against three women and one man.
The court heard he got into relationships with the victims after meeting them through social media.
He then convinced the women to take out loans and credit for him - promising he would pay them back.
However, once he received the money he ended the relationship and left his victims to pay off the debts.
The jury also heard how a man agreed to buy an Apple MacBook in August 2016. The victim sent full payment of £600 plus postage and packing to a Grace’s bank account but never received the laptop.
After numerous failed attempts to get a refund he reported the matter to Action Fraud.
A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) confiscation hearing will take place at a later date.
PC Mike Stolworthy of Dereham Police Station said: “Firstly, I’d like to commend the victims for coming forward and having to endure a lengthy investigation followed by a trial.
“Mark Grace abused the trust of his victims by making them believe they were in a relationship before stealing thousands of pounds to further his own lifestyle.
“This result reiterates that Norfolk Constabulary will take reports of fraud seriously and are committed to bringing those responsible for these kinds of offences to justice.”