A romance fraudster who fleeced two women and carried out a £160,000 banking scam has been jailed for four years. 

Prince Rodriguez, 28, left one of his victims suffering sleepless nights and was branded ‘heartless’ by judge Philip Katz.

The judge outlined the first romance fraud, inflicted on an elderly woman, named only as ‘Ms Dale’, as he sentenced Rodriguez at the Old Bailey.

‘It seems that over a very sustained period of time that elderly lady was the subject of a callous and sophisticated fraud involving a large number of people stealing her savings.

‘You played the role of someone called Mr Felix in an attempt to get her to launder some Sterling into Euros, effectively manipulating her into allowing you to use her bank account.

'Heartless' romance scammer Prince Rodriguez, 28, has been sentenced to four years in prison after defrauding two women and being involved in a £160,000 banking scam

‘Heartless’ romance scammer Prince Rodriguez, 28, has been sentenced to four years in prison after defrauding two women and being involved in a £160,000 banking scam

‘Followed up by phone calls on your part…pressured her to make transfers in your favour.’

Ms Dale said in a victim impact statement read to the court: ‘I am a happy and easy going person who would help anyone but because of my good willed nature I have been manipulated to give to someone I trusted my hard earned money.

‘I often have sleepless night because of the disappointment and worry over this.

‘I am a believer that good people are in this world still…but I have been truly let down.’

Alex du Sautoy (prosecutor) said that the second type of romance fraud was related to Ms Hershman. She was contacted by Mr Benson in 2015.

‘The prosecution’s case is that Mr Rodriguez was posing as Mr Benson.

‘He told her he was in Malaysia with his daughter and needed money.

‘She sent money to several different accounts [under his instruction].

‘In July last year Barclays contacted Ms Hershman about payments of over £25,000 made to three different accounts.

‘It transpires all those transfers were made by Mr Rodriguez.’

Rodriguez also made an application for vehicle finance for the lease of a Mercedes E class valued at £45,000.

To support his application, he submitted falsified documents such as a Barclays Bank statement and employment proof.

He was also involved in a telephone bank scam totalling more than £157,000, the court heard.

James Higbee, defending, said Rodriguez saw it all as ‘electronic money’ and could not see how his actions were affecting the victims involved.

‘He has come to terms with the exact gravity of what he has done.

‘He is so young. These offences were committed at a young age. I would not say naïve… but immature as to the impact on other people.’ 

James Higbee was James’ defense barrister in relation to Rodriguez’ romance frauds.

‘The defendant was selling items on Craigslist and was contacted by other people who he now knows to be fraudsters.  

‘They said do you want to be part of our wider scheme.’

Rodriguez, he said, was inducted to a larger group. The romance fraud schemes relating Ms Dale or Ms Hershman were run by the same operation.

Judge Katz told the fraudster: ‘The fact of the matter is once you started offending you were pretty determined to show that you were dishonest, persistent and heartless.

Sentencing him to a total of four years in prison, he left Rodriguez with these words: ‘It is up to you what you make of your life when you are released.

‘I take everything the probation service have said with a pinch of salt.

‘I hope you turn your life around.’

Prince, also known by Husam Rodriguez, was arrested in Bayston Road Hackney.