Man Cons Vulnerable Women Out Of £40,000 By Posing As War Hero Online


A man has been banned from online dating for life after he was caught conning vulnerable women out of more than £40,000.

Michael Brain, dubbed the “cash card Casanova", preyed on women as old as 75 who had suffered bereavement or domestic abuse by telling them made-up sob stories.

He posed online as a former Royal Marine, telling his victims that he suffered burns following an explosion while serving on the frontline.

In reality, he sustained the injury from a gas canister while staying in a caravan.

The serial womaniser would trick lonely hearts out of cash or steal their jewellery, a court heard.

The fraudster, of no fixed address but previously from Plympton, Devon, admitted nine offences of fraud and five of theft at Plymouth Crown Court.

He was jailed for four years and given an indefinite Criminal Behaviour Order banning him from dating and gambling websites.

Judge Paul Darlow told him: “This was a callous web of rehearsed and repeated lies, carefully honed and mainly directed by you at women because of their vulnerabilities or simply because of their inherent caring natures.

"I have no doubt that none of these women would have let you near them if they had known the truth about you."

One of his victims, a 75-year-old Cornish woman, loaned him £20,055 to pay various bills after meeting him through the website Badoo.

But the court heard Brain had spent the money on drinking and gambling.

Nick Lewin, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Brain had used several dating websites including Plenty of Fish, Badoo and Smooch to bombard women with flattering messages.

He added that Brain could be at various stages of relationships with as many as four women at any time.

Mr Lewin said he used "sophisticated and cynical lies” to worm his way into the affections of his targets.

Brain was only recently released from prison for similar offences after being jailed for 70 weeks in January.