SEASONED expat fraudster Paula Neale has fled to France following an Olive Press probe.
Detectives contacted us following a tip off that the mother-of-two was staying in a hotel in Catalunya and preparing to cross the border this week.
She had been staying at Hotel Figueres, near Girona, and asked to pay for the room using her ‘husband’s’ credit card.
It comes after four years of investigation by the Olive Press has uncovered more than 30 victims of her rental scams undertaken in various false names.
Neale, 43, took rental deposits for properties she didn’t own and allegedly ransacked properties she had rented before selling the stolen goods online.
However, despite four stories and at least eight denuncias against her, she has yet to be picked up by police.
This is looking increasingly unlikely after a receptionist at the hotel confirmed that Paula had checked out on Tuesday morning.
She had been planning to cross into France with her two children, Nina, 12, and Oscar, 14 and live in Bordeaux.
Staff at the hotel said the room was left in a ‘complete mess’ after she left in a hurry, with police arriving within an hour.
Her plan to escape to France was rumbled by her own pal, actor Anthony Webster, who ratted on Neale when he found out her real identity.
Webster told the Olive Press this week that he had recently befriended Neale online.
He said she had promised to help his acting career and that she knew people in the film industry, claiming to be ‘a producer’.
But after meeting her at the hotel and agreeing to drive her to Bordeaux, he said he felt ‘something wasn’t right’ when she claimed her mother had suddenly died and that she needed to leave immediately.
He researched her online and stumbled upon our catalogue of stories.
He refused to leave his hotel room or open the door to her, setting off alarm bells for Neale, who packed up and left after repeatedly trying to raise him.
Neale’s speedy departure came as the Olive Press was handing over details of various denuncias and victims to the Guardia Civil in Malaga.
A detective confirmed they were ‘in a race against time’ to get an arrest warrant with Catalan police.
One of her victims, Sara Belmont, says Interpol has been notified but because the crimes were committed in Spain, she must be charged here.
Family friends back in the UK meanwhile, confirmed that she had made it across the border on Tuesday in a hire car.
They claimed she had a long chequered track record of scams and problems and had a third son, who Paula was unable to take care of.
The friend described her as an ‘unfit mother who long displayed erratic behaviour’.
On one occasion she even pretended to be her daughter to try and strike up a connection with her long-lost son, the friend claimed.