A “deluded” man processed cheques as part of a £33k fraud scheme, believing his actions would release his own “prize fund”.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard Gerald Sunnie, 58, of Aboyne Avenue, fell victim to the scam when he received a “call from America” three or four years ago.
Giving evidence, Sunnie told the court a man who identified himself only as Robert told him he had won £200,000.
Sunnie said he had sent away a coupon from a magazine entering into a cash competition and believed the winning was a result of that.
He said: “I had a call from another gentleman who said I would receive the money in the post and I had to do something to receive it.
“I began receiving cheques and had to deposit them.
“I put them into my bank account and the gentleman would phone me back later and tell me the people I had to send a transaction to through Western Union.”
Sunnie said he was allowed to keep £50-£100 per cheque and that he was told doing these transactions would avoid him paying tax on his own winnings.
Sunnie processed at least 48 cheques, which he accepted were criminal property.
The court heard the money came from other victims of the scam, who had been told they had won money and would receive funds if they paid out smaller amounts first.
In 2012 Sunnie was contacted by two local authority officials and police who all warned him they suspected he was involved in a scam.
His bank account was subsequently shut down.
He said: “I didn’t believe them. I was so sure I had won money – I thought it was all legal and above board.
“I didn’t think it was a scam, it seems like that now but I didn’t think it at the time.”
He then continued to process cheques from three elderly complainers, adding up to a total of £32,900, still believing he was to receive his own prize fund.
Sheriff Simon Collins said: “It is clear from his evidence he still believes and is hopeful that he will get his money.
“He is deluded or extremely naïve as any normal person would know this is clearly a scam.”
Sunnie was found guilty after trial of being concerned in an arrangement which he knew or suspected facilitated fraud, by accepting cheques into his own account from three complainers and sending some of the money onto an unknown person, between August 1, 2013, and August 12, 2014.
Sentence was deferred until August 26 for reports.