A con artist who tricked her ex-partner into believing she had given birth to his child and told him to “expect the worst” after claiming her ‘daughter’ was seriously ill in hospital has been ordered to pay back a solitary pound for her cruel £1,000 deception.
Samantha Wiles, from Scarborough, fooled the man and his family into handing over cash and clothes for the non-existent baby girl, who Wiles said was in an incubator in hospital.
Wiles, a senior care worker for people with mental-health problems, told the hapless victim he wasn’t allowed to visit the ‘baby’ in hospital and made demands for money and child maintenance, York Crown Court heard.
He ended up handing over £1,000 to Wiles, who in the meantime had been busy helping her new boyfriend run a drug-dealing operation.
Wiles, 33, was given a suspended jail sentence in July after she admitted fraud, supplying cannabis and possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply.
The court heard that Wiles had met the man online and they moved into a house in Scarborough together in 2015.
Wiles told him she was pregnant and he believed her, but he was worried she might have a miscarriage because of her heady lifestyle and drug-taking, which led to arguments and the couple’s eventual separation in 2016.
“He was told (by Wiles) that he had a daughter, but that (the baby) was under-weight and very poorly, in intensive care,” said prosecutor James Bourne-Arton.
“He was sent a picture of her in intensive care and told no-one was allowed to visit her in that incubator. He was told by the defendant to prepare himself for the worst.”
Wiles, who worked at a care home in Scarborough, even posted pictures of the ‘baby’ on Facebook and told the man she was attending post-pregnancy medical appointments.
She then sent him text messages demanding money for baby clothes and milk.
“Initially, he sent £30 a week, then £50, and then £70 a week,” said Mr Bourne-Arton. “Payments were made from May to the end of August (2016).
“He also sent baby clothes (but) was told that he would never see the child unless he complied with her demands for money.”
In desperation, the man went to see a solicitor in an attempt to gain access to his ‘daughter’, but the lawyer told him she believed it was a con. Police were informed and Wiles was arrested.
In August last year, police raided the home in Longwestgate that Wiles shared with her new partner Jonathon Hardcastle and found 10 cannabis plants in their loft. The plants had an estimated yield of £4,500.
The court heard that heavily-convicted Hardcastle was the driving force and Wiles occasionally answered the door to drug customers.
The couple, now of Roscoe Street, Scarborough, both admitted supplying cannabis and possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply. Hardcastle, 33, also admitted cannabis production and possessing criminal cash.
Wiles had previous convictions for shoplifting and being drunk and disorderly. At the time of the baby scam, she was under a court order after receiving a conditional discharge for theft.
At the sentence hearing in July, Hardcastle was jailed for 10 months, but judge Simon Hickey suspended Wiles’s eight-month sentence because of the effect on her children if she lost her liberty.
On Friday, Wiles and Hardcastle were back before the court for financial-confiscation proceedings.
Prosecutor Jessica Heggie said Wiles’s criminality had netted her £1,869, but that she had just 69p at her disposal.
Judge Paul Worsley QC duly ordered Wiles to repay a nominal £1 fee under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The court heard that Hardcastle profited to the tune of £7,563 from his drug trade, but the £940 he had available had been seized by police during the raid. Mr Worsley made a notional confiscation order for Hardcastle to repay the same amount.
Hardcastle still has three months of his 10-month jail sentence left to serve.