Conwoman Jailed for Lonely Hearts Fraud

Posted: 14th July 2011

A serial conwoman has been sentenced to three years in prison for defrauding an 81-year-old widower of thousands of pounds.
Loraine Upritchard, 53, befriended James Saunders in 2007, after she responded to an advertisement he had placed in the personal column of a newspaper. She told Mr Saunders that her name was Danielle Ryan and later moved into his flat in Haywards Heath in Sussex. During this time, she persuaded Mr Saunders to lend her £11,000, giving various reasons for needing the money, including that she needed it to pay for medical treatment. She promised to repay the loan once she had received a legacy from her aunt.
Ms Upritchard later stole four cheques from Mr Saunders’ cheque book and tried to use them to pay off significant debts incurred by her lover, Norman Boxall, but Mr Saunders’ bank refused to honour them.
By October 2009, Mr Saunders suspected that he had been conned and decided to contact the police. It emerged that four years earlier, Ms Upritchard had pleaded guilty to obtaining property by deception from a widower in Eastbourne in similar circumstances. He had employed a private detective to obtain evidence against her when she failed to honour two IOUs totalling £2,200. She was sentenced to a community order but later jailed for breaching the terms of the order.
Ms Upritchard pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and four thefts.
Police believe that Ms Upritchard may have obtained as much as £100,000 by preying on vulnerable elderly men and persuading them to part with their savings.
When sentencing Ms Upritchard, Judge Richard said, “In my view you are a wicked and despicable gold-digging con artist.”
If you are concerned that a vulnerable member of your family may be being exploited in some way, we can advise you of steps you can take to protect them.