Woman who lost flat and all possessions to serial Romeo conman will receive less than £1,000 in compensation

Serial conman Raymond McDonald.
Serial conman Raymond McDonald.

A woman who lost her flat and all her possessions to an internet dating fraudster will receive just £991 in compensation.

A woman who lost her flat and all her possessions to an internet dating fraudster will receive just £991 in compensation.

The 50-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was persuaded by Raymond McDonald to let him sell her flat as part of a bogus property scheme.

In a complex web of lies and false promises told to four women, McDonald claimed he was the uncle of disgraced former Sunderland AFC footballer Adam Johnson.

"Johnson was on trial for sex offences at the time," prosecutor Paul Newcombe told Teesside Crown Court.

"McDonald told one of his victims he was being hounded by the press due to his relationship with Johnson, which was why his mobile number changed often.

"He also gave Johnson as the reason why one of his victims could not meet his family, because he said they were wary of meeting anyone while the trial continued.

"With several of his victims he represented himself as a wealthy property developer who could help them renovate their property, or buy and sell property to their advantage."

McDonald kept the money from the sale of the flat and the unwitting buyer cleared it and sold all the victim's possessions, the court heard.

"I have been left with no past and no future," said the victim.

Other victims spoke of their shame and embarrassment at being deceived into giving McDonald thousands of pounds.

Among the reasons he gave for wanting money was to pay for flights to a fictitious villa in Cyprus, domestic goods which never turned up, presents for his son and expenses for his mother's funeral.

McDonald, 44, of Youll Close, Thornley, admitted five charges of fraud.

He has more than 40 previous convictions for similar offence and has served previous jail terms of four, three, and two years. McDonald was jailed for seven-and-a-half years at a hearing last year.

He was not present for the hearing to determine if any of his assets can be seized as the proceeds of crime.

Prosecutor Vikki Lamballe told the court figures had been agreed with defence barrister Tamara Pawson.

Judge Sean Morris ruled McDonald had benefited from crime by £128,261 and his available assets are £1,236.

The judge ordered the money to be confiscated and divided among the victims as compensation. The victim who lost her flat will receive £991. Other victims will receive £100, £95 and £49.