Nan fleeced hubby out of £46k to give to ‘US boyfriend’ who was actually fake

A husband woke up to find more than £46,000 missing from his bank accounts as his wife of 40 years fleeced him in order to gift money to her boyfriend.

Patricia Passman, known as Tricia, sent a mixture of online bank transfers and Amazon vouchers to her online boyfriend in the United States.

Tricia soon found out the whole ordeal was a scam and by that time, she had stolen £46,700 from her estranged husband.

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After appearing at Teesside Crown Court for sentencing, Passman, 59, was given an 18-month jail term, suspended for 24 months after admitting guilty to stealing money from her husband's two bank accounts.

Tricia and her estranged husband Tim, 66, who share three children and grandchildren, still lived together in 2019 despite splitting up after 40 years of marriage.

The pair also worked together after their separation with Tricia working as a secretary for Tim's business, Passman Pipe Inspection Services.

Despite initially charged with stealing £35,669 and £33,851 respectively, higher amounts than what she admitted to (£22,650 from her husband's personal bank account and £24,050 from his business account), the court accepted her guilty plea to the lesser amounts as she produced paperwork showing the transactions she had made.

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Ms Haigh, the prosecutor, said Tricia had left Tim in "financial ruin, with tax bills and accountancy fees to pay" after stealing the money in a two-year period between January 2019 and January 2021.

Possessing five previous convictions for 12 offences, Tricia was described as "naïve" by Thomas Bennett, defending, who said she was embarrassed by what she had done.

He added: "She herself was exploited herself, having fallen victim to an online scam."

Judge Jamie Hill replied: "She thought she'd met a boyfriend online and he was going to have a relationship with her."

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Judge Hill told Passman: " Over two years you stole £46,700 from two accounts – one in your husband's name and one was his business account. It seems you thought you were engaged in a relationship with somebody in America.

"In fact you were involved in a scam. It seems you were living in some sort of bubble. You took your husband's financial welfare from him."

Judge Hill mentioned the financial impact the ordeal has had on Tim, who is now battling debts and alongside her suspended prison sentence, Tricia has also been ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

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