I grew up with the person who conned me. We lived in the same block in the 1960ís. His name is Stephen. He was an ex who targeted me when he knew that I moved into my flat. Steve could see money from my flat, I could just see debt, but Steve understood about equity and that is what he was after.
He contacted me in 2003, he was upset because he had broken up with his girlfriend. I was very happy with my life and how things were going at the time, and to see someone so upset made me feel that I wanted to help, if I could. Steve didnít want to stay in his flat on his own, so I allowed him to stay with me, this was only supposed to be a temporary arrangement until my flatmate moved in, but Steve made sure that he never moved out until he was good and ready.
He moved in on me very quickly, he kept telling me how much he had missed me, how much he loved me, he even attempted to throw himself out of my second floor window, telling me that he couldnít live without me, he really went to town on me. After convincing me how much he had changed, he then started to pressure me into marriage. He wanted to get married as quickly as possible; Steve was tasting all the money he could get his hands on. A year later (August 2004), we went to St Lucia to get married, but as soon as we were married, Steve was working just as quick to get his hands on the equity of my flat. He left no time for me to think of anything, he made sure that I got a loan in my name for the wedding (£10,000), he made sure that I paid for the platinum wedding rings, which he was adamant we got (another £1000). Steve was busy buying himself expensive shoes, clothes etc. He wanted to look good on the wedding day. I had spent about £30 on clothes; shoes etc for the big day, Steve had spent £75 on just one pair of shoes.
As soon as the wedding ring went on my finger, Steve changed instantly, even the photographer had to tell him to hold me, and the next day he continued by flirting with a girl, it was as if I was invisible, it was very embarrassing.
Well back in England, Steve instantly got to work, he organised getting joint accounts immediately on our arrival back, and also wanted to put his name on my mortgage. Fortunately, he was unable to get his name on my mortgage, so things werenít working out exactly the way Steve had expected it to; it was going to take him a little longer to con me out of my money.
Steve then started to continuously harass me, this never stopped through the time that Steve was here.
Well, just two months later, he talked me into getting £5000 from my mortgage, he had conveniently broken his heals, and we were living on my earnings alone, which just wasnít enough money, especially as Steve had just got a decorating job, which of course he couldnít do, so had to pay his friend and his brother to complete.
By October 2004, Steve had broken my computer, and again got me to get computers on HP in my name, I strongly believe that Steve changed the finance deal for this, I never received any communication about when this had to be paid for, and when I phoned up to pay for the computers in full, was informed that they should have been paid for ten months earlier. Steve decided it was not a good idea to pay for them in full, as he felt we didnít have the money to pay, and why should he care, they were not his responsibility.
Steve desperately needed to go on holiday; he was stuck indoors for a few months now, and needed to a well deserved holiday. Though it was me who had to do the shopping and all the other everyday tasks as well as coping with a full-time job and doing my QTS course (Qualified Teaching Status).
In 2005, I strongly believe that Steve was trying to do whatever he could to hurt me. In about March 2005 he was trying to get intimate, I was tired, he was well aware of this, especially as I told him so, he got angry and pulled out a sword from under the bed, I was terrified, and kicked him where it hurt, I was trying to defuse the situation as quickly as I could, and couldnít think of anything else I could do, it worked. Steve knew exactly what he was doing; he then threatened to take me to court for not doing my wifely duties.
In January 2005, I strongly believe that Steve put something in my contact lens holder to burn my eyes. Steve made me believe that I had done something to burn my eyes, but looking back now I feel that he was trying to blind me. To back this up, when we were supposed to go back to the hospital, Steve caused problems with the cab driver, he did something, I couldnít see what, so donít know what he did exactly, but the cab driver got very angry and refused to take us to the hospital. Steve said that we couldnít go to the hospital, I was getting angry and scared, I had to get to the hospital. I told him that I would phone for an ambulance to get me there; he reluctantly called another cab company. When we got to the hospital, he had to guide me, he was very rough and very fast, it felt that he wanted me to hurt myself, he seemed very angry that we were at the hospital. On the hospital report, it says that I had bilateral chemical burns via contaminated contact lenses.
By May or June of 2005, Steve got me to sign for a joint loan for £10,000, he said that this would put our finances in order, he also pressurised me into closing my personal account, it seems that Steveís plan was now coming together; he had me where he wanted me.
Steve purchased an eternity ring for our first wedding anniversary, which he put on his credit card; (I ended up paying for this when I got the money from my mortgage, as this money was used to pay for the credit cards too).
In early August 2005, Steve was putting me under pressure regarding not having a vehicle and telling me how much it was costing to rent out vans, he said that we needed to get a van for all the work he was doing. He got me to sign a credit agreement for a £15,000 van.
By August 2005, he had pressured me so much regarding the lack of money; he got a big job painting schools in East London. He was complaining that he was unable to afford materials, and was not able to pay the people working for him; most of them were his friends. He pressured me so much about this problem; he managed to get another £45,000 from my mortgage.
I thought this would be the end of the problems, we now had the money to pay for all the work, and the money should have been rolling in to pay back all that we had borrowed from my mortgage, which Steve kept telling me he would pay back.
Steve again got me to purchase on HP, a flat screen TV, sofa, and other furnishings for the flat. It seems whatever Steve wanted, Steve got. Steve was putting me into as much debt as he could; he was out to destroy me.
In September or October of 2005, Steve got a job in Scotland, he went off with his friends and my bank cards and my extra sim card for my phone, and he left me at home without a penny. I managed to borrow about £30 from my brother to keep me going.
When Steve was away, he was constantly harassing me; he came back before the work was complete, and told me that he wanted me with him in Scotland. When we were there, Steve got very angry, he looked down at my wedding ring finger and looked at me with such disgust and hatred, he wrenched me finger so badly that I was sure he broke it. I didnít know what to do, I was in Scotland and had no money of my own, Steve had made sure of that, he could do whatever he wanted, I could not escape.
Steve never did any work when I went away with him, but left his friend to complete it. We got back to England; I had to go to Southampton to work. This particular day, I was being observed teaching; well the icing on the cake came when Steve managed to find out where I was and barged into the studentís accommodation. We were all in shock; I of course, lost my employment. Even when I was driving back to London, Steve started to become very aggressive, he ripped my cardigan, I stayed at my brotherís that night.
I was now jobless, penniless and very close to being homeless too. All Steveís plans were going well, except I was still alive. Before Steve lost me my work, we had yet again booked a holiday, which Steve really wanted to go on. Before I had lost my employment, I told him that it was fine because I had this job, but that this had to be the last holiday for a very long time, we would have to work very hard to pay everything back.
When we were away we were doing some very dangerous things, walking on high walls and we spent loads of time in the mountains, I was sick of the mountains, but Steve wanted to go up them regularly. We found that we were on our own on one cliff, and Steve was very eager for me to see the view from this particular cliff, I was very scared. I slid over the wall, but stayed sitting down, Steve pulled at my arm to get me close to the edge, but I kept refusing. We eventually had company, I then agreed to see the view, but Steve told me not to bother, he said something like, ĎItís too late nowí.
When we got back I was very depressed but eventually started to find work. Every time Steve was around and someone phoned me regarding work, Steve would shout, I never heard from those people again. He was determined to stop me from getting back on my feet it seemed.
In January 2006, I found a letter in my name under the sofa when I was cleaning. It was informing me when the TV should have been paid for. I just looked at the letter. I couldnít pay for the TV, I couldnít pay for anything, my life was ruined, and Steve had destroyed everything I had worked so hard for. I never confronted him about it, what was the point!!!
In March 2006, his sister came to see us, Steve said that he could give her some paint from the garage that he was renting (again Steve wanted my name on this contract, but I told him that it was his business, so the garage should be in his name. I found out later that he didnít continue to pay the rent) Steve went to the garage with his sister; he then phoned me and told me that the garage had been broken into. We informed the landlord about this, who in turn informed the police. Steve got me to purchase equipment that he said had been taken, I now believe that this was a hoax to get me to purchase equipment for him out of the joint account, so showing that I was using this account. I ended up being taken to court by the RBS, and I am now paying for a £5000 overdraft that Steve had taken from the account.
I was starting to get myself together, and Steve was still harassing me regarding lack of money. Looking back, he was starting to copy what he had done to me the previous year. He got me to sign for a £3000 loan; this one was in joint names. I sent the form off without signing it, I didnít want to sign for it, but when it came back, Steve went crazy and made me sign the form. I had no choice, he was in total control.
Again and again Steve was going crazy, saying that we had no money, saying that we couldnít pay for all the things we got on HP, saying that we couldnít pay the mortgage. He kept complaining that I didnít earn enough money. He wanted to know all that I was earning; he wanted to keep tabs on any money I had. I decided to secretly open a bank account.
Steve again was putting as much pressure on me as he could regarding the finances. I was trying to work really hard to pay for everything, but I had only been able to just start work again in June 2006. Steve said that if we got £55,000 from the mortgage, it would pay for everything and would be the cheapest option, so I organised to re-mortgage, I did ask if the mortgage could be in my name only, but was informed that I didnít earn enough. I was scared. When we were waiting for the money to come through, I told Steve that I wanted the £55,000 to go into my account, he refused this request, and so I cancelled the re-mortgage informing the company that I didnít trust Steve.
Steve started getting very aggressive; it was time for him to leave. I got my son to move in, hoping it would help calm the situation.
Eventually Steve told me that he had put the business into someone elseís name and made himself unemployed, I went mad, Steve got what he wanted, he left the flat and has not been back since.
I went to the police about what Steve had done, but was informed that he has done nothing illegal and is just a nasty person. I was also told that I should have got a private investigator to follow him, I didnít even have money for food, I had to borrow money from my son to cover me before I got paid from work.
Again, I went back to the police in 2008, but again was informed that they get loads of people who go to them about this type of thing, and they did not see it as a criminal offence, I was also informed that it costs a lot of money to prove fraud.
I have tried taking Steve to court through the civil system; I even got a committal hearing for him as Steve was not complying with the court. Even when the judge gave him a suspended sentence, he did not comply and the judge never enforced the sentence she gave him, she basically called me the barbarian for wanting to enforce it, and on the same day Steve verbally abused me in court too.
When I went back to court a week later, the judge said that I had made an expensive mistake, she laughed at me when she heard that I wanted all joint accounts solely in his name. (Steve didnít turn up, and made the excuse that he had gastroenteritis).
Going to court to be abused again has now cost me just over £17,000, which does not include all my lost earnings from attending court, so I now feel that I have been conned by the justice system too.
I am now trying to fight to get legislation changed, which will enforce police to investigate and prosecute con artists like Steve. I am also going to fight for legislation to change regarding annulments, so when you are conned into a marriage the way I have been, you are able to annul it.
This is an overview of what happened to me, and though I concentrate on what Steve did to me, my full story will also reveal how his current partner, her sister and husband, and other friends of Steve were also involved.
Logo by Shafina Iqbal
© Fraud Do Us Part 2010