Serial fraudster jailed for stealing cash from Lauder, Kelso and Dundee women he targeted via online dating agencies

A serial fraudster has been jailed for over a year at Jedburgh Sheriff Court for using dating agencies to find female victims to steal bank cards or details from to fund his booze-fuelled lifestyle.

By Court Reporter
Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 10:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 11:02 am
Jedburgh Sheriff Court.
Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

Duncan Flett, convicted dozens of times previously for similar scams, stayed at the homes of three women after gaining their trust, then stole their bank cards after they went out to work.

The 48-year-old Casanova conman would use the money he stole to pay for hotels and travel throughout the UK, as well as to fund what was described as a “chaotic lifestyle”.

One furious victim even set up a Facebook page showing photographs of him under the heading ‘Duncan “Tealeaf” Flett’.

After admitting four fraud offences, Flett, originally from Orkney, was given a 14-month jail sentence to “protect people” from future scams, he was told.

He pleaded guilty to stealing a £900 worth of electrical items, DVDs and computer games from a house in Tulloch Court in Dundee on February 13, 2018, belonging to a woman he met via an online dating agency and selling them for £100 at a Cash Converters store.

Flett also admitted defrauding the same woman by using her bank cards to make almost £1,000 worth of bogus payments for hotel and transport bills over the course of 2017.

In November 2018, he stole two Bank of Scotland cards from the home of a woman in Lauder and ran up hotel bills in Edinburgh with them to the value of £374.

Flett preyed on a third woman he had been staying with in Kelso in June 2019, stealing two bank cards and using them to withdraw £350 from a cash machine.

Defence lawyer Mark Harrower said: “What is worrying is that there has been a clear pattern, and he could not expect to get away with this and he knew he was going to get caught.”

He added that his client, giving an address in Ferry Road in Edinburgh, had a “horrendous drink problem”.

Mr Harrower accepted custody was inevitable but said credit should be given to Flett for pleading guilty at the outset.

Sheriff Peter Anderson said Flett was a “tragic waste of a life” considering his talents, adding that he had misused those talents “to take advantage of other people”.

He told him: “Your drink problem is sort of an explanation but, as accepted by you, it is not an excuse.

“I will be imposing a prison sentence partly to protect people.”

Sheriff Anderson reduced the prison sentence Flett faces from 21 months to 14 to reflect his guilty plea.