A fraudster who used a picture of a hunky cage fighter on Tinder in a scam to swindle vulnerable women out of more than £16,000 has been jailed.
Paul Davies, 30, "catfished" eight victims by creating a fake profile under the name of Aaron Edwards, a 28-year-old regional manager for Audi, and used the photo of mixed martial arts champion Cody Garbrandt.
And the defendant lied that he needed cash to visit his sick grandfather in hospital to pocket thousands of pounds out of the women.
Davies, who is actually a supermarket worker, told other victims his bank card was swallowed by an ATM machine and he needed emergency cash.
A court heard one woman even took out a payday loan to help Davies.
But he was snagged when one of the women showed her friend's nephew a photograph of the man she believed she was having an online relationship with. The youngster recognised the photo as that of UFC champion Mr Gabrandt and told her she had been "catfished".
The conman was jailed at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday after admitting eight counts of fraud. He was sentenced to 28 months in prison, which will run alongside six further months Davies received as part of a suspended sentence for a previous fraud.
Judge Keith Thomas told the defendant he had portrayed himself as a successful businessman online in order to "prey on vulnerable women" – many of whom were far from well-off.
"You deliberately set out to abuse the trust of these women for financial gain," he said.
The court heard Davies, of Port Talbot, south Wales, in total conned eight women out of a total of more than £16,000 with one women handing over £8,558 and another some £6,300.
He told officers he had spent all the money on gambling. It later emerged he had also "borrowed" £40,000 from his parents' pension pot.
Victims told of their fury at the court case.
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