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Fraudster who fleeced women he met on Plenty of Fish ordered to pay back nearly £37,000

PUBLISHED: 12:48 10 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:35 10 July 2019

Mark Grace. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Mark Grace. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Norfolk Constabulary

A fraudster has been ordered to pay back nearly £37,000 to victims he fleeced after meeting them on social media and dating websites such as Plenty of Fish.

Mark Grace, 30 of Corton Road, Lowestoft, was jailed for six years after he was convicted of four counts of fraud and one count of theft, in December, last year.

At his trial, a Norwich Crown Court jury heard how he got into relationships with victims after meeting them through social media and on the dating site Plenty of Fish.

He won over their trust and then convinced the women to take out loans and credit for him - promising he would pay them back.

However, once he received the cash he ended the relationship and left the victims with hundreds of pounds of debts to pay off.

The court heard he stole more than £40,000 from his victims, which included one woman he met on the dating site Plenty of Fish, who was left with nearly £6,000 worth of debts for loans and phones.

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He also tricked a man into buying an Apple MacBook in August 2016. The victim sent him £600, but never received the laptop and after numerous attempts to get a refund he reported the matter to Action Fraud.

Grace was back in court on Wednesday for a Proceeds of Crime hearing.

Grace appeared over a video link from Peterborough jail.

Danielle O'Donovan, prosecuting, said that there were assets available to the amount of £36,927.

Judge Stephen Holt agreed the order and said the amount recovered should be paid as compensation to the victims he had cheated out of cash.

He gave Grace three months to pay and ordered Grace to serve eight months in default of not paying the amount set at the hearing.

After his trial, PC Mike Stolworthy commended his victims for coming forward to make a complaint about Grace.

He said: "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."

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