A CON MAN’S victim today welcomed new plans to sentence fraudsters according to how much harm they cause their victims and not how much money is involved.
Janine Munroe was conned out of £17,000 by Romeo-rat Adam Lloyd-Harris who lavished her with holidays and gifts – using cash from her own bank accounts.
This week, the 32-year-old was sentenced to 17 months in prison, but will be out within weeks due to time already served on remand.
Miss Munroe, of Ryhope, said: “I have lost four years of my life because of him. I am angry to think that he could soon be doing this to someone else, which you can guarantee he will.”
Now, the Sentencing Council wants criminals like Lloyd-Harris, convicted of financial crimes, to receive tougher punishments if they have targeted vulnerable people, or left victims badly affected, like Miss Munroe.
A 14-week consultation on the draft sentencing guidelines for fraud in England and Wales was launched yesterday.
If accepted, they will mean higher sentences for some offenders compared to the current guidelines, particularly where the financial loss is relatively small but the impact on the victim is high.
Miss Munroe, 35, said: “It was not the monetary loss that caused me the hurt, it was everything else.
“I think these proposals are a good idea because they take into account the feelings of the victims.”
Offenders’ culpability will also be increased if they target people who are particularly vulnerable, including because of their age.
Sentencing Council member Michael Caplan QC said: “Fraud is committed for financial gain, but it can mean much more than financial loss to the victim. Our research with victims showed the great impact it can have on them.
“Our proposed guidelines therefore direct courts to start the sentencing process by looking at what victims have been through.”
Lloyd-Harris admitted theft and fraud charges in relation to Miss Munroe in December 2011 but failed to turn up at court for sentencing on several occasions, causing her more heartache.
More than 16,000 people were sentenced for fraud in 2011.