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'My best friend conned me out of over £100,000'

'My best friend conned me out of over £100,000'

Sue tells her story in the new Paramount+ series Love Rats

Sue Hughes first met her best friend Anna back in 1998 while they were working together in a nursing home, and immediately hit it off.

The two became the best of friends, went out together every weekend, and Sue was even made chief bridesmaid at Anna's wedding. They told each other everything - or so Sue thought.

What was seemed like a firm friendship ended up being a total scam that no one saw coming and, over the course of two decades, Anna managed to con Sue out of more than £100,000 - all by creating a totally fictional man named Steve 'Ste' Lucas. Here's how it all started:

Of course, 'Ste' wasn't Anna's uncle at all. In fact, 'Steve' didn't even exist.

The first time Sue laid eyes on the club bouncer was Anna's first time seeing him too, but Anna managed to convince her friend that she'd known this man all her life - that he was her 'Uncle Ste'.

Over the phone, Sue and 'Ste' developed a strong relationship, texting each other every day, but never meeting in person. Before she knew it, she had fallen in love with him.

In 2003, the nightclub Sue believed 'Ste' worked in shut down, and Anna soon informed her that her uncle, now supposedly out of a job, was moving to Las Vegas. Though Sue was obviously devastated to hear it, she got on with her life - though she did always hold a candle for Ste, regularly writing him letters and sending him a Christmas present every year.

It wasn't until 2015 that Anna's web of lies turned truly sinister.

Anna told Sue that 'Ste' was back in the UK and had been arrested for carrying drugs. Not only that, but he was bullied inside prison for the style of clothes he was wearing. Sue wrote to him in prison and even gave Anna the money to buy her uncle some new clothes.

Sue Hughes was scammed out of more then £100,000 by a woman she thought was her best friend.

Later that year, when he was released from prison, Sue was told that 'Ste' had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, and had been given just months to live. While he couldn't be treated in the UK, there was supposedly an experimental treatment in the US that could help him - but it would be costly.

Sue didn't give it a second thought, and offered to help pay for the treatment, sending thousands of pounds into Anna's bank account each month under the impression that Anna would match it and then pass it on to 'Ste'.

When medical costs started to build up, Anna ended up taking on two permanent jobs and working six days a week, barely surviving on anything herself.

After two years of the supposed treatment, Sue had sent over a total of £25,000. After four years, that number sky-rocketed to £100,000.

Sue was 'physically broken' from it, but truly believed 'if [she] let him down, he'd lose his life'.

Eventually, in 2020, Sue caught her best friend in a lie, and the entire scam unraveled. When Sue realised just how deep Anna's con went, and that there never was a 'Ste Lucas', she was utterly heartbroken.

"When it all came out, I had a breakdown down because it all got too much for me." she said.

"I was worried about Steve. I was working six nights a week. It got too much. Something had to give and I went."

Sue broke down when she uncovered the truth.

Sue did manage to get herself together, though, and managed to gather enough evidence for police to take Anna straight to court.

"In court, she showed no remorse", recalled Sue. "She has not even tried to say sorry. When they were handing out the sentence, she did not look at me."

Anna pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was jailed for 28 months.

You can hear Sue's full story, and others like her in Paramount+'s new series Love Rats, which exposes the manipulative criminals that lurk in the dating world.

The victims at the hearts of each jaw-dropping case share blow by blow accounts, detailing how they were targeted, coerced, and conned, leaving them with broken hearts and often empty bank accounts.

The first four episodes of Love Rats are now available to stream on Paramount+.

Featured Image Credit: Paramount+

Topics: TV And Film, Real Life