Scottish Daily Mail
Day Beyoncé and DiCaprio were star turns... in Glasgow Sheriff Court case!
Businessman claims he was conned by sister with bogus stories of niece’s links to A-listers
A BUSINESSMAN has claimed his sister conned him out of tens of thousands of pounds by duping him into thinking his niece was set for Hollywood stardom.
David Bunton said Ann Dunlop, 67, stated her daughter Heather was being lined up for big acting roles and mingling with A-listers such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
The 51-year-old told a court he handed over cash to help her make the breakthrough. He also allegedly bailed out his financially ‘struggling’ sister.
Mr Bunton claimed he became suspicious after a Chanel advert he was told Heather was starring in did not appear.
Dunlop is on trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court accused of obtaining £35,368 by fraud from Mr Bunton as well as other family members between March and December 2016. The pensioner, of Beauly, Inverness-shire, denies the charge.
Mr Bunton, chief executive of a life science company, said he had been supportive of his niece’s acting ambitions.
She had attended a London music college and appeared as an extra in BBC period drama Garrow’s Law.
Mr Bunton said that he had sold a business around the time Dunlop approached him for £5,000 in March 2016.
He claims he was told the money would go to ‘supporting Heather’ and to ‘build her career’. Mr Bunton said: ‘I was told she was offered a [music] contract with Sony. We were later told she was offered a better contract with more money. There was talk about meeting Beyoncé and Jay-Z, about movies with Quentin Tarantino and Michael Keaton.’
There were also allegedly claims US entertainment executive Irving Azoff had offered a better contract than Sony. Detailing what he claims he was told, Mr Bunton said: ‘Azoff was her manager, she met Leonardo DiCaprio and she was working on promotional activity for Chanel, which would go alongside her movies.’
Mr Bunton said he was unaware of the income Heather was to receive but believed it was millions. He said he handed over a further £27,000 to help her as well as his apparently ‘struggling’ sister and brother-in-law.
When asked by prosecutor Redmond Harris if any repayment had been discussed, Mr Bunton said: ‘It was promised... this was made clear by phone calls and texts.’
He said he also covered his niece’s council tax and footed the cost of his sister and her husband’s gas bill.
Mr Bunton claimed he was told there was a banking issue with cash Heather was due.
His suspicions were raised when a Chanel advertisement that Heather claimed to be in did not appear around Christmas 2016. He then met his sister in early 2017 at a London pub as he ‘had concerns about the situation’. Mr Bunton said: ‘I did not really get a convincing explanation.’
The witness said communication with his sister eventually stopped and his last contact with his niece was Christmas 2016.
Recalling visiting Dunlop at her then home in Glasgow’s Hyndland, he said his sister blamed another relative for ‘stirring things up’.
He said he was also handed a bank letter, which he knew was fake. Mr Bunton said: ‘I was so conflicted not to challenge them on it and say “you are lying”. I was so upset they were doing that.’
He told the trial that the family is broken apart and he has still not received the money which he is said to have handed over.
When asked what he knows about his niece’s acting career, Mr Bunton said: ‘From internet searching, there was no career to my knowledge.’
The summary trial continues next month before Sheriff Kevin McCarron.
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