A 24-year-old woman created an online profile as a prostitute so she could catfish married clients and blackmail them into sending her cash.
Lauren Hunt got her hooks into a number of clients and threatened to expose them to friends and family if they did not pay up.
When the terrified victims tried to block her online, she simply created a series of new profiles to continue targeting them for ransom money.
Two of her three victims were so scared of being outed they allowed her to empty their bank accounts.
Fiscal depute Joanne Ritchie said one victim, referred to as MM was “feeling low” on September 9 and “decided to look for the services of a prostitute”.
“He accessed Dundee Craigslist and found an advert for a 15-minute appointment for sexual services.
“He emailed and asked how to arrange an appointment.
“Arrangements were made for him to meet a female.
“A short time later he changed his mind and decided not to attend.
“He sent a message saying he could no longer attend.
“He instantly received a reply which he perceived as quite hostile.
“The female stated he had wasted her time and she needed to be reimbursed.
“He was provided with the name Lauren Hunt and her bank details.
“He was instructed to send £20. He was then informed he would need to pay a further £20.
“He complied and got a demand for a further £20.
“He sent a total of £60 and the following day blocked the number and deleted the emails.”
Cleaned out bank account
On September 12 the man was catfished by further Facebook accounts – ‘Sam Thomson’ and ‘Danni Thomson’ – set up by Hunt to threaten exposing him.
Ms Ritchie said: “Messages stated he needed to learn a lesson and demands for money were made.
“He was sent screenshots of his family Facebook accounts and the user began liking old posts on his timeline.
“She asked for more money and stated that if he did not comply she would send messages to his family informing them he was trying to solicit the services of a prostitute.”
The man emptied his bank account by sending her a further £56.81 and showed her screenshots of his bank account to confirm she had cleaned him out.
Contacted victim’s father
Little more than a fortnight later, another ghost Facebook account – Sarah Smith – began sending him messages telling him he need to “learn a lesson.”
Hunt told MM he had to stop blocking her social media accounts and keep sending her money or she would reveal his behaviour to his family.
He sent her four sums of money on October 1 and made three more payments two days later.
Ms Ritchie said: “He felt ashamed and embarrassed and sent money to prevent this information being shared.”
He made another four payments on October 5 but had no money left in the bank when further threatening messages arrived the next day, so he contacted police.
While officers were interviewing him at his workplace, he received 15 calls from the accused which he never answered.
Calls continued for more than a week and she told him she would “ruin his life and career”.
As MM continued to ignore Hunt, she brazenly contacted his father and asked him to pass on a message telling him to get in touch.
Police were again contacted and the bank account into which he had paid nearly £700 was traced to Hunt.
Second and third victims
Hunt, of St Nicholas Place, Dundee, admitted extorting £716.81 from the man between September 12 and October 17 2020.
She admitted acting with the intention of menacing him into a state of fear and alarm, and putting him in a state of apprehension that he would have private and personal information exposed to friends and family.
Hunt admitted extorting £50.59 from a second man by the same means between August 22 and 27 2020.
He sent her £50, then transferred the last 59 pence from his bank.
She admitted a third similar charge of blackmailing a man into handing over £650 between November 20 2020 and January 12 2021.
She had met him through the Kik app and they had spoken on a number of occasions so he could describe his sexual fantasies to her.
He initially thought he was being “kind” by sending her extra money.
By the time Hunt produced a newspaper article featuring him at work to show she knew who he was, he had already handed over £650.
Sheriff Paul Brown deferred sentence for the preparation of social work reports and Hunt’s bail was continued.
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