EXCLUSIVE: British career conwoman investigated after cheating ‘friends’ out of hundreds of thousands of euros

LAST UPDATED: 5 Dec, 2014 @ 17:50
EXCLUSIVE: British career conwoman investigated after cheating ‘friends’ out of hundreds of thousands of euros

By Imogen Calderwood

A CONVICTED conwoman is facing trial in Marbella over the fraud of an expat couple.

Briton Frances Stein, 70, from London, is under investigation for swindling a Marbella-based couple out of ‘hundreds of thousands of euros’.

Stein – who spent a year in prison in the US for bouncing cheques – allegedly conned Mike Hamlet and Annie Maguire out of hundreds of thousands of euros.

The couple – who ran a dry-cleaning company in Mijas Costa – gave the money to Stein over a period of five years.

Handed to her in a series of loans and investments, they thought of Stein as being ‘part of their family’.

As well as socialising with her on a regular basis they were frequent guests at the penthouse flat she shared with her husband Sanford, 75, in Elviria, Marbella.

“The psychological and mental effect of the theft has been awful,” Mike, 61, from Manchester, told the Olive Press last night.

“We gave her money to invest in various things, to pay-off insistent loan-sharks; to help her son’s ailing company; and for the daughter’s maintenance after a bitter divorce.”

He continued: “It’s a great betrayal of trust, because these are people who we thought were very close friends. But now we know the whole relationship was just to cheat us.”

Stein is now being probed by Marbella police and court, with her defence alleging that the Hamlet and Maguire are loan-sharks, and she is, in fact, the victim.

Last night, Sanford confirmed the case was in court and insisted the other couple were loan sharks.

He refused to comment further.

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  1. They sound despicable people but have they really broken any law? They other were duped but handed over the money as loans etc. The dry cleaning business must be profitable if they handed over hundreds of thousands.

  2. If the court finds this person guilty, then 8 years sounds reasonable BUT I hope the court also has the powers to retrieve their ill gotten gains & return them to the Maguire’s & does so. Such action will act as a deterrent to others with similar acts in mind.

  3. stefanjo: Well I can only hope that somebody reading these commnts has the power, the good & the right intentions to improve Spain’s image by seeing to it that persons who profit illegally don’t sit back in jail waiting their release in order to laugh their heads off whilst spending their loot.

  4. This type of thing happens all over the world. It is irrelevant which country it has happened in. Also it is not a Spanish couple who have ripped these unfortunate people off. Surprise surprise, they are English ! Choose wisely who you associate with on the Costa Del Sol.

  5. Briton FRANCES STEIN is a career-conwoman?? No!!! I shall be very careful dealing with anyone called “Frances” again, must be the foreign name! Or am I over-reacting? Could only be worse if they had an Italian surname! Seriously, it is sobering to hear that most expats say it tends to be other expats that rip them off.