Fraudster hunted ‘vulnerable single women’

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By Karen Pasco, Open Justice reporter for

Con man Paul William Abbott who appeared for conviction in the Invercargill District Court.

Con man Paul William Abbott who appeared for conviction in the Invercargill District Court.
Photo: Otago Daily Times / Karen Pasco

A woman who was scammed by a repeat offender said she was disgusted by the man who preyed on vulnerable single women who were often mothers.

Paul William Abbott, 39, appeared before Judge David Robinson in the Invercargill District Court yesterday for sentencing.

He had previously pleaded guilty to obtaining $18,000 by deception of a woman between July 22 and August 5 last year, and of obtaining $5,650 by deception and stealing tools worth $2725 between September 16 and August 5 last year. Nov 7, 2020.

He has previous convictions for similar offenses in 2016, 2012, and 2004.

Yesterday one of his victims read her victim statement in court.

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She told how she met Abbott on a dating website where he used a false name and a detailed, well-rehearsed fictional backstory.

Abbott was easy to talk to, charming, and she found herself falling for him.

Early on in the relationship, he asked if she would lend him some money.

To show her commitment to the relationship, she borrowed $4,000 from her mother and then lent it to Abbott.

She has drawn up a loan agreement with him, including a repayment schedule.

He asked for more money and the loan agreement was changed accordingly.

When she asked for a refund, she had one bad luck story after another, she said.

She let Abbott move in while she was in Wellington.

During that time, he stole tools from her and also removed the loan contract.

His insult left her feeling embarrassed, financially ruined, causing stress, turning strong family relationships into fragile ones, and beginning to doubt everyone’s intentions.

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“I’m disgusted that he preys on vulnerable single women who are often mothers,” she said.

Judge Robinson said inconsistencies between reports made him question the truth in what Abbott had told those preparing them.

In one report, Abbott said he wanted to end his offense and take steps to prevent it from happening again — in another, he blamed the victims for what he had done.

While Abbott had reported that it was his drug addiction that fueled his offense, in another he reported that he had stopped using drugs prior to his latest scam.

In a psychologist’s report prepared for sentencing, Abbott had told the report’s author that money was not a motivator — instead, he used online dating to help him with his social anxiety.

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“I don’t believe that for a moment,” Judge Robinson said.

“What I see is a preconceived line of behavior that you just followed through.”

He sentenced Abbott to 19 months in prison and refused him leave to request house arrest.

He also ordered Abbott to pay back both of his victims 20 percent of what he took from each — saying that while he would like the two victims paid in full, with $5,600 in damages already outstanding, Abbott wouldn’t be able to. to pay more.

Judge Robinson gave a final warning to Abbot.

“Be assured that if you go to court for the same or a similar offense, the stakes only get higher from here.”

* This story originally appeared in the Otago Daily Times.