A STRATFORD woman has been jailed after befriending people online and conning them out of almost £700,000.
Caroline Nightingale, of Sandpiper Close, is said to have persuaded victims to give her cash to help cover the cost of family emergencies.
The 45-year-old also pretended she had died from cancer and then continued correspondence by pretending to be close family members.
Her first victim, who lived in Warwickshire, is understood to have given Nightingale £512,380 over a four year period from March 2011 to August 2015.
And a second victim from Greater Manchester handed over £177,474 between January 2011 and September 2015.
She was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud at Warwick Crown Court.
The court heard how Nightingale befriended the victims online and met only one of them occasionally early on in the relationship.
Over a period of time she created characters – pretending that they were family members – and invented domestic situations, which could only be resolved by cash being loaned to her.
The fraud also included Nightingale pretending she had died of cancer and then posing as a close family relative.
Police staff investigator, Dominic Kennedy, said: “These were heartless crimes which show how easy it is for people to be taken in by online sob stories.
“Warwickshire Police takes fraud of all kinds very seriously and we will always strive to bring offenders to justice.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Nightingale was also made subject to a confiscation order.