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.