LUTON: A fraudster who claimed he had cancer to trick money from his fiancee, her family and a friend was jailed for 32 months on Monday.
Wilfred Mpofu, 32, of Tenby Drive in Luton, claimed he had pancreatic cancer and needed the money for an operation at a private hospital in Zurich.
His girlfriend gave him money, as did her father and her grandmother, who has subsequently died.
Mpofu, who was seeing other women, also had a GoFundMe page set up by his fianceé and a second one by a friend, Luton crown court heard.
But when the police examined his medical records, they found out he had never been diagnosed with cancer.
Mpofu appeared from sentence on a video link from Peterborough jail, having earlier pleaded guilty to five charges of fraud.
Prosecutor Marion Smullen said that in total Mpofu received £38,282.
“During 2019 and 2020 the defendant stated he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and needed an urgent operation in a specialist hospital in Switzerland.”
She said his ex-fiancée had met him through the Plenty of Fish dating website in July 2018 and the following year they decided to buy a house together.
He persuaded her to hand over £6,000 for an operation on his ankle, even though it was carried out for free on the NHS.
Mpofu next claimed he needed a £20,000 loan to buy his mother out of a property and the fiancée persuaded her grandmother to give him the money in November 2019.
The following month he was taken to hospital. When the fiancee arrived, a woman who was visiting Mpofu told her that she was his girlfriend.
Mpofu said that his consultant told him he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He lied saying he needed to raise £30,000 to go Zurich for an operation. The fianceé’s grandmother agreed that the money she had loaned for the house could go towards his hospital fee.
The fiancee, who believed the man she loved had little time to live, set up a GOFUNDME page, as did a friend of Mpofu. They raised over £7,000.
Once all the money had been received, Mpofu said he had changed his mind about the operation and was recovering by taking steroids.
The fiancee became increasingly suspicious and was losing contact with Mpofu. When she asked for the money to be returned, their communication ended, said the prosecutor.
In a victim personal statement, the woman said she could not put into words the mental torment and sleepless nights she had suffered.
“I was devastated and emotionally drained when told of his pancreatic cancer. From the bottom of my heart I loved him,” she said. “He proved to be a complete fraudster.”
Defending, David Wolchover said he had no previous convictions. He said there were concerns about Mpofu’s thinking after he had “stretched out the proceedings” by claiming there was money in a safe at a house in Luton. No money was found.
Jailing him, Judge David Farrell QC said: “It is quite clear that the fraud involved wicked lies on your part that have had a devastating effect on the principal victim.
“You exploited a relationship with a woman who has suffered to a considerable extent.”
A Proceeds of Crime Hearing has been set for February .