A fraudster has been jailed after defrauding dozens of people out of thousands of pounds.
Letchworth resident Robert Ashton set up numerous fake social media accounts in early 2020, during the pandemic. He began posting claims that he was a struggling single parent who had lost his partner and the mother of his children to Covid. He would ask people to donate money to Just Giving and Go Fund Me accounts he had set up, to help him pay bills and support his children.
Ashton received donations estimated at over £10,000 over several years. Many of those who took pity on his plight were elderly and vulnerable people, who could barely afford to spare the funds they had donated.
Ashton, aged 37 and from Pascal Way, Letchworth Garden City, was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment for fraud at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday 5 December, having previously pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing. He was also ordered to pay £290 in victim compensation.
Detective Constable Craig Blake, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “Ashton’s actions were despicable and callously calculating, inventing his hardships to manipulate people into giving money, even faking the death of a loved one. Many of his victims were also struggling during the pandemic but felt compassion for the single parent during a desperate time. It is highly likely that there are many more victims who have not come forward and may even still be unaware they were duped.
“If you believe you may have been a victim of a similar fraud – please report the details to Action Fraud.”