A WORCESTER man who conned women he met on internet dating sites out of hundreds of thousands of pounds has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Matthew Bart Samuels, 50, of Broadway Grove was found guilty of eight counts of fraud when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Friday (October 9).
Between 2011 and March 2015, Samuels met five women online, including one victim he stole £110,000 from after telling her he could invest the money for a bigger return.
The court heard how Samuels kept the money and spent it on himself.
The 50-year-old would use different tactics to steal from his victims, including driving expensive cars, wining and dining them and persuading the women he was a millionaire in order to gain their trust, when in reality his lifestyle was very different.
The fraudster even persuaded women to set up car companies which he would then run, using finance deals to steal from his victims and eventually leaving them when the debt spiralled out of control.
In other cases Samuels would claim to be in a financial crisis, getting the women who believed they were in a relationship with him to hand over thousands of pounds, but instead he would blow the money on expensive cars when he promised to pay them back.
All of this was going on whilst Samuels’ partner was working away, with no idea of what he was getting up to as he used his job as a car dealer to cover why he wasn’t at home.
DS Tim Powell, from Hereford CID, said: “This sentence is the culmination of a thorough and detailed investigation, led by West Mercia Police with support of other forces from around the country.
“I would particularly like to pay tribute to the women who have been defrauded by Samuels, they have shown great courage in speaking out about their experiences in order to bring this man to justice.
“Whilst Samuels was buying expensive cars, his victims were facing crushing debt, whilst he was holidaying in the south of France or taking trips to Paris his other victims were being blacklisted.
“He lied and deflected all blame onto them during this investigation, taking no responsibility for their positions at all.
“During his interviews he tried to intimidate the officers; stating that he knew people “in high places.”
“In the end Samuels has shown to be nothing more than a thief who would employ any lie to live a lifestyle funded by other people’s money.”
Following his conviction, officers are trying to cease any available assets Samuels may have to try and compensate the money his victims have lost out on.
Ian Cooks, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Throughout this prosecution Samuels has shown no empathy or remorse towards any of his victims for his callous actions.
“The CPS will now look to recover the amounts stolen,” he added.