A MAN involved in an international “romance fraud” scam which saw two vulnerable pensioners hand over more than £80,000 has been ordered to surrender ill-gotten gains totalling almost £27,000.

Carlisle Crown Court heard earlier this year how two elderly victims were duped into sending tens of thousands of pounds to what they believed were potential female partners.

As a result, £85,000 passed illegally through the bank accounts of Anderson Boakye, 27, and his 29-year-old partner Laura Glendinning - whom he had recruited.

Both Boakye and Glendinning, of Crummock Street, Carlisle, admitted entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement by receiving cash into a bank account.

Boakye also pleaded guilty to a similar offence involving cash sum collection.

One victim later told how the experience caused him to lose his faith in people.

Boakye received a suspended prison term in August and Glendinning a community order, both sentences comprising unpaid work.

Boakye’s barrister called his offending “extremely shameful and unpleasant”.

Sentencing judge, Recorder Michael Blakey told the pair: “This case has been described as romance fraud, but nothing could be further from the truth. It was stealing from vulnerable individuals in society.”

Under tough legislation, police sought to recover the ill-gotten gains. And their efforts resulted in Boayke appearing again at the crown court for a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing when Judge Nicholas Barker heard the male defendant’s agreed benefit figure from his criminal conduct was a total of £82,969.14.

Boakye’s available assets - said to be already in the possession of police - were agreed as £26,961. This sum comprises seized cash, money from a restrained bank account and personal property.

He was formally ordered by Judge Barker to hand over the assets within 28 days.

Failure to do so will see him face up to nine months’ imprisonment in default.

No POCA proceedings were ultimately pursued against Glendinning.