Aemilius Cupero News: Scam wedding planner victim ‘to get just £1.74 back’ after woman fleeces couples of £15k
Aemilius Cupero News:
Dana Twidale took more than £15,000 from couples, and another £42,000 from a man she met on Tinder, but has only been ordered to pay back £600
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A scam wedding planner who conned 24 couples into parting with their thousands of pounds has been ordered to pay back only £600.
Dana Twidale took more than £15,000 from couples, and another £42,000 from a man she met on Tinder.
The 44-year-old, from Hull, disappeared to Benidorm after conning people across the UK out of their hard-earned savings, Hull Live reports.
In July, she was jailed for five years after admitting 26 offences of fraud between August 2017 and July 2019.
The court heard she had taken the money to fund a gambling habit, and in some cases the couples only found out she had not provided what they’d paid for the night before their wedding.
Now a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing at Hull Crown Court has been told that out of the £60,263 she earned through the scams, only had £600 in her bank account remained.
One of her victims will only receive £1.74 in compensation after the meagre amount is divided.
Prosecutor Dale Brooks said: “If Dana acquires more wealth in the future then it should go towards the victims.”
Judge Bury said the £600 had to be paid within the next 28 days, but some of the money was “already in the hands of those who need it”.
The court was told Twidale has “no home, no address, no car”, and the £600 was already seized by police as it was in a “restrained” bank account.
Mr Brook asked that the £600 be used as compensation for the victims.
“It’s obviously a small sum of money,” he said.
It was hoped that if Twidale “at any future point acquires any wealth” then it might be used for further compensation.
The money would be paid not to the court but to the financial investigation team or similar people for it to be apportioned out to victims.
Judge Bury said that, if provisional compensation breakdown estimates were right, he would “quite like to see the face” of one woman who might get just “£1.74 in the post” as her compensation.
Twidale will have 28 days to pay the £600 or face seven days in prison in default.
Judge Bury told Twidale that the crime benefit figure was £60,263 but said: “You don’t have anywhere near that in assets.
“The only assets the police have been able to identify is £600 in a Nationwide bank account and that money is restrained already and it will be used to satisfy this sum and it will be defrayed as compensation to the victims of your crime.
“The money is already in the hands of those who need it.”
The original court hearing was told that people, including Twidale’s ex-husband, claimed that they eventually saw her back in Hull.
She was said to have been spotted working at a number of takeaways last year. She was eventually arrested.
One couple who paid £550 to Twidale for wedding decorations only became aware of the fraud the night before their wedding day.
They were contacted by the photographer who alerted them to the complaints on social media and that Twidale had seemingly fled.
The couple described how they were devastated and relied on borrowing money from family members to pay for the services for their wedding.
When Twidale was arrested, she told police she had got into debt with her business and turned to gambling and was “chasing her losses”.
One couple who paid Twidale £620 said: “Your wedding day is the biggest day of your life and something you should be able to look forward to.
“I look back and, rather than thinking of the good things, I am constantly reminded what she put us through.
“Unfortunately, due to additional costs, we had to sacrifice our honeymoon.”
The court heard that a couple due to marry paid £2,470 to Twidale to organise their wedding, which included a marquee.
Three days before their wedding, they discovered that the marquee, tables and chairs for their big day had not been delivered.
At the time, Twidale was on holiday in Spain.
She told them that the items would arrive the following day, but nothing did.
Twidale stopped answering their calls and messages.