Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - SPECIAL REPORT -

The fundraiser

Teacher Keera Bray­ford (right), 25, from Mersey­side, raised al­most €22,500 in a crowd­fund­ing scam after pre­tend­ing to have can­cer, telling friends and fam­ily she needed money for al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies. Bray­ford ad­mit­ted fraud and was sen­tenced ear­lier this month to a two-year sus­pended sen­tence.

The din­ner ladies

Sis­ters Joanne Pas­carelli and Marie Wil­son have been ac­cused of pil­fer­ing nearly $500,000 (€429,000) in stu­dent lunch money over a pe­riod of about five years. The two cafe­te­ria work­ers from Con­necti­cut, both in their 60s, are charged with lar­ceny but are be­ing tried sep­a­rately. At the time of go­ing to press, Pas­carelli had pleaded not guilty while Wil­son de­clined to en­ter a plea un­til her next court date. Pas­carelli’s lawyer said the women are vic­tims of a ‘witch hunt’ and are be­ing made scape­goats be­cause of­fi­cials can’t pro­vide any other ex­pla­na­tion for how the money went miss­ing. The case is on­go­ing.

The ‘Portofino Pi­rate’

Mum of four Larissa Wat­son, 50 (right), was dubbed the Portofino Pi­rate after al­legedly try­ing to steal a yacht worth around €145,000 in the Ital­ian re­sort. She started the en­gine but was spot­ted by a sus­pi­cious har­bour worker. Wat­son, a cre­ative di­rec­tor, was charged with theft. ‘The dou­ble life of Larissa Wat­son seems to have come straight out of a film,’ claimed Ital­ian news­pa­per La Riviera. ‘In Bri­tain she’s an es­teemed artist, in Italy a thief who’s been un­der scru­tiny by the po­lice for some time.’ Wat­son said: ‘I have never, ever been in trou­ble with the po­lice be­fore – apart from maybe a park­ing ticket’ and main­tains her in­no­cence.

The ‘teenager’

In 2013 Sa­man­tha Az­zopardi (right) was found wan­der­ing the streets of Dublin, and led au­thor­i­ties to think she was a teenage traf­fick­ing vic­tim from East­ern Europe. After an in­ves­ti­ga­tion which cost a re­ported €225,000 she was iden­ti­fied as Aus­tralian, aged 25 and from a mid­dle-class back­ground. She was de­ported from Ire­land, then Canada, but in 2016 she re­peated the con in Syd­ney. Last July she was sen­tenced to a max­i­mum one year in jail after plead­ing guilty to four charges of dis­hon­estly ob­tain­ing fi­nan­cial ad­van­tage by de­cep­tion.

The Horse & Hound hood­winker

Ear­lier this year, Char­maine McAl­lis­ter, 31, from Hud­der­s­field, was jailed for four years after pre­tend­ing to work for Horse & Hound mag­a­zine, call­ing its ad­ver­tis­ers to tell them card pay­ments had been de­clined. She asked them to give her the de­tails again, then used the money to pay for sev­eral cars, cos­metic surgery, de­signer cloth­ing and ho­tel stays.

The bo­gus brides

Amid an epi­demic of dat­ing scams where women all over the world per­suade men they’ve met on­line to send them money, three women from Chech­nya be­came sur­prise in­ter­na­tional he­roes after con­ning al­most €2,250 from Isis fight­ers in 2015, telling them they needed the cash to join them and be­come ‘ji­hadi brides’.

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