An elderly conman posed as a high-flying American businessman to swindle a woman pensioner while they were both hospital patients.
Frank Burrows’ 79-year-old victim – in the bed opposite his in Calderdale Royal Hospital – thought they had started a romantic relationship.
His fake accent and claims to be in the CIA were part of the scam.
Bradford Crown Court heard gambling addict Burrows, 73, also claimed he was a high-ranking worker for Toshiba and could get lap-top computers very cheap.
During his hospital stay in May last year Burrows tricked his victim, who was suffering dementia, into taking out £750 from the hospital cash machine so he could get her three lap-tops.
Prosecutor Sophie Drake said the pensioner never got them even though she continued visiting Burrows after she was discharged.
“She believed he was her boyfriend,” said Miss Drake.
Burrows, who had a previous caution for obtaining property by deception, was not traced for over a year and in the meantime had carried out the same scam on a doctor in Norfolk, the son of a guest house owner in Blackpool and a cleaner at York District Hospital.
The court heard he claimed to be an employee with Microsoft or Apple and tricked his victims into handing over a further £1,099.
When Burrows was arrested he admitted all the offences, saying he was a compulsive gambler and wanted to apologise.
At a previous hearing before magistrates in Halifax, Burrows admitted fraud and asked for three similar matters to be taken into consideration.
His case was committed to crown court for sentence and yesterday Judge James Stewart QC suspended Burrows’ six-week jail term for two years.
He said Burrows, who has been living at a bail hostel in Halifax, would be subject to supervision for six months.
Burrows’ barrister Stephen Wood said it was a tragedy that so late in his client’s life he had developed a gambling addiction.
He said Burrows suffered from angina and a lung condition and his admission to the offences was the best evidence of his remorse.
When Burrows told Judge Stewart he was sorry the judge noted: “You’ve got your English accent on today, I see.”