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Convicted con-woman Yulanda Panayiotou

Con-woman avoids jail after £10k take from trusting man

A DAGENHAM WOMAN stole over £10,000 from a vulnerable man who thought she was helping him through the kindness of her heart. The money was taken in a series of calculating cons – but the guilty woman saved her best con for the Court.

It was the beginning of August 2016 when Yulanda Panayiotou, 40, of Lindisfarne Avenue, Dagenham, befriended a man in his 60s who was in ill health and finding it hard to manage. She began by offering to help clear his garden, and then offered to do some shopping for him.

Panayiotou took the victim’s credit card. She brought the shopping back – but not the card. A few days later, she took another bank card from the victim to do some more shopping. Again she came back with the shopping but not the card.

Over the next few weeks, Panayiotou used the victim’s cards until they reached their limits. She also set up various transactions in his name – store cards, mobile phone contracts and online gambling accounts. She went to the victim’s house nearly every day, helping him with small jobs around the house – and intercepting mail sent to the house in connection with the fraudulent transactions.

The victim raised concerns about fraud with the police in November 2016. Panayiotou was arrested in January 2017 and was given bail while the police investigated. She was charged at the end of July.

Panayiotou was found guilty at Snaresbook Crown Court last week of eleven counts of fraud and three counts of theft of credit cards and a bank book. She received an 18 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to undertake 80 hours of unpaid work.

Panayiotou’s defence was that she could not have committed the offences… because she was a wheelchair user. The final con did not work. As Investigating officer Detective Constable Neil Wakeling, from Romford police explained, “Panayiotou claimed she couldn’t have committed the offences as she is wheelchair-bound and she attended all her court appearances in a wheelchair. However, there was overwhelming evidence against her including independent witnesses, CCTV evidence of her walking around a shop and a sighting by myself of her running. A jury took less than two hours to convict her on all counts.”

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