THE CASANOVA CONMAN

The conman assured her that it was all perfectly safe

Thousands of women fit this description: middle- age, divorced, alone and lonely. Many of these women are so desperate for companionship that they become prime targets for conmen.

So it was with one women who, shortly after placing her details on an Internet dating service, was contacted by a conman. Of course, the woman did not realise the man was a conman. He seemed caring and charming. Just like most conmen, they have to be smooth to lure victims.

Within a few weeks, the woman was in a relationship with this man (although, if calling over to her home and spending a few hours with her twice a week could be described as a "relationship").

During one of his brief nocturnal visits, the woman happened to mention to the man that she was struggling financially. She owned her home but always seemed to be short of cash. The man said he was a mortgage broker and he could offer her a solution. He would place a mortgage on her home, invest the funds through his "connections" at a much higher rate of interest than the cost of the mortgage. The difference of a few hundred dollars a month would be hers to keep.

The woman was wary. It didn't feel right. Her home was her only asset.

But the conman assured her that it was all perfectly safe. He had done this many times before with great success. It was easy. Leave it all to him.

And so, reluctantly, the woman agreed. Within a few days, the conman had arranged a large loan on the woman's home. The money was paid direct to the conman.

After making a few payments to the woman, the conman stopped visiting and the payments stopped coming. The woman was stuck with a large mortgage on her home and no income to pay for it. She was distraught, almost suicidal with grief, rage and shame at how she had been so easily fooled.

The woman went to her doctor. She was diagnosed with depression. As the weeks progressed, the woman's troubles grew worse. Unable to make the loan payments, she was facing the loss of her home. Finally her doctor suggested a possible solution. Neil Jenman. That's right, the doctor "referred" the woman to Neil.

As soon as Neil heard the woman's story, he sprang into action. He had soon located and confronted the conman who handed over a cheque for the outstanding repayments and a further cheque for the entire amount of the mortgage. The first cheque was banked but the second cheque proved worthless. Again, Neil Jenman pressed the conman to pay up.

Neil also arranged for the woman to receive legal advice. It seems that both the conman and the lending company may have broken the law. It is possible that the loan could be voidable.

The case is continuing. Today, the woman still lives in her home, the conman is on the run and the lending company is trying to justify its dodgy methods.

Neil Jenman has assured the woman that she will not lose her home.