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£100k stolen, just £350 back - con woman's victims will get nothing
8:30am Tuesday 22nd January 2013 in News
A WOMAN who fleeced neighbours out of more than £100,000 during a six month period has been ordered to hand back just £350.
And the victims of the ‘wicked’ crimes of con woman Karen Kowlessar won’t get a bean, because the amount recovered is so small.
The 46-year-old was jailed for three years last June, after admitting cheating three residents of a sleepy cul-de-sac to fund her gambling habit.
Now, after investigators went through her finances, they have found all she has left is £350 sitting in an account that already had been frozen by the court.
Because the sum is so small prosecutors say it would not be worth making a compensation order to the women who were her victims.
Judge Douglas Field has now made an order under the Proceeds of Crime Act ruling she benefitted from crime to the tune of £104,345.23p.
But she will only have to sign over the money in the building society in the next 21 days or face a further two weeks added to her sentence.
Claire Marlow, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court: “We don’t seek compensation: due to the realisable amount being so small it is not asked for.”
Should the con woman come into money in the future, she could still be pursued by the authorities for the outstanding £103,995.23p.
Kowlessar was not brought to court from her prison cell to hear the order being made.
She befriended other women living near her Haydon Wick home and persuaded them to invest large sums of money in her boyfriend’s company, which he knew nothing about.
She even helped a vulnerable victim, who she knew had learning difficulties, complete forms for £20,000 in bank loans that she took with the false promise of high returns on the cash.
Another neighbour, a retired teacher, was taken for her savings and an inheritance totalling £70,000 after being put under pressure to invest.
But in reality, Kowlessar was using the money to fund her online gambling addiction, which was costing her hundreds of thousands of pounds.
She was caught out when one of the victims, concerned about the lack of repayment, mentioned the investment to the defendant's boyfriend and found he was totally unaware of it.
And when he confronted his partner, she told him ‘Well it’s all gone now’.
Kowlessar, who was living in north London at the time she was sentenced, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of fraud.