A 23-year-old man who conned nearly two thousand pounds out of unwitting victims online by posing as a woman has been jailed.
Paul Snelson pleaded guilty to eight counts of blackmail after he contacted men on different websites, flirting with them and posing as potential partners.
One of the victims was a man from Leicester, who responded to an advert Snelson posted on Craigslist.
Snelson chatted to the man on Whatsapp, pretending to be a woman. He shared images of a sexual nature of a woman he’d taken from the internet.
Once Snelson received similar images from the man, he immediately started to make demands for money.
He threatened to post the images, contact details and conversations with the man on social media sites, so that they could be seen by his friends and family if he didn’t pay up.
On Friday (8 November) at Grimsby Crown Court, Judge Peter Kelson QC described this as ‘an extremely serious case’. Snelson was jailed for three years and five months.
Detective Constable Nichola Oakley said: “Paul Snelson blackmailed these individuals who genuinely believed they were talking with and engaging in intimate chats with women.”
“I want to thank these men, who are from all over the UK, for having the bravery to come forward and for bringing Snelson to our attention.”
“I believe if they hadn’t have contacted the police, Paul Snelson would have carried on believing he could threaten and embarrass even more men into paying him to keep quiet.”
“We tracked Paul Snelson through his own bank details which he had foolishly sent to the men to deposit cash into. We are investigating other transactions found on that account.”
“I want to issue a warning to anyone who takes part in online dating or chats to be careful what details or images they send over the internet. The person that they’re talking to may not be all they seem.”