Southend woman jailed for £400,000 investment fraud

A woman from Southend who defrauded 38 victims of nearly £400,000 has been jailed.

Jay Delaney, 32, appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Monday April 25, for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to 38 counts of fraud.

She received a total sentence of 4 years and 8 months imprisonment.

Delaney, of Baxter Avenue, Southend, convinced colleagues, friends and family members to invest in a currency exchange scheme, claiming that she had preferential exchange rates as a benefit through work and would repay their investments with profit.

The fraud first came to light in April 2019 when several victims reported that money given to Delaney in good faith had not been returned.

Between 2015 and 2020 a reported total of nearly £400,000 was stolen by Delaney, with one victim personally investing £125,000. It’s believed that the actual figure may be double.

During the investigation, detectives found that she had been mostly unemployed during this period and had falsely claimed to have worked for an insurance company, a bank and even a police force.

She had also taken advantage of the sympathy of others by claiming that either herself or those close to her had serious health conditions and needed money.

In interview, she alleged that she had been conned into the pyramid-type scheme by two men in a pub. They were never identified.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Joanna Barnes, said: “Delaney was prolific in her offending and relentless in her approach to deceive friends and family.

“A rehearsed back story and some creative use of online document tools meant she was able to gain the trust of those she targeted.

“Many of the victims in this case are still struggling to come to terms with the lies and deceit shown by Delaney, someone they thought they knew and trusted, some even since childhood.

“I hope this considerable sentence offers some closure to those affected by Delaney’s actions and encourages other people who may have experienced similar behaviour to come forward.

“Although it’s deeply sad to think that people you care about may treat you in this way, fraud is still a crime and should be reported.”

If you think you may have been a victim of fraud or would like to find out more about fraudulent schemes you may encounter, visit the police website: https://www.essex.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/

More information can also be found through Action Fraud.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]