A WOMAN left near to financial ruin after a conman fleeced her out of almost £14,000 watched yesterday as he was ordered to pay back a token £10.

Leanne McCarthy has been blacklisted for credit and is being threatened with debt collectors after Wayne Gouveia — who told her he was a secret agent — swindled £13,854 from her.

Goveia appeared at Oxford Crown Court yesterday for prosecutors to try to claw back any stolen money or assets, only for Judge Mary Jane Mowat to be told he had spent it all.

Judge Mowat could only order him to pay a token £10 and could not make any compensation order to Miss McCarthy.

She added: “If the defendant comes into money in some way the position can be looked at again.”

Speaking after the case, Miss McCarthy said: “I am absolutely disgusted — speechless.

“I never had any problems with money before.

“Now my bank is putting me on the default register, my parents’ house will be blacklisted and I cannot even get a mobile phone contract.

“It is a scary situation to be in.”

Shop assistant Miss McCarthy said she had saved thousands of pounds by working hard, being careful with her money and banking cash given to her by her grandfather.

Gouveia, 25, of Shannon Road, Bicester, convinced the 21-year-old her life was in danger and over a period of months convinced her to give him money or pay for things.

Miss McCarthy is now receiving letters from banking giant Abbey threatening her with legal action unless she pays her £1,914 overdraft back. In a letter to Miss McCarthy, the bank said: “We may take legal proceedings against you for the recovery of this balance, or we may refer your account to debt recovery agents.”

Gouveia, who had previously conned another woman, was jailed for 18 months in March after admitting three charges of fraud by false representation. Miss McCarthy, of Merlin Road, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, said the stress caused by Gouveia’s lies had made her physically sick and caused her hair to fall out.

She said: “I just do not understand how anybody could be so cruel.”

Her father John, a 46-year-old self-employed carpenter, said: “There is only one loser here and that is my daughter.”

Her aunt Mary Faulkner, 47, added: “Leanne has become a victim twice.”

A spokesman for Abbey said: “As there has been no error on the part of Abbey and there was a considerable delay before we were made aware that anything was amiss, we cannot accept responsibility for the missing funds.

“We would advise all our customers to check their accounts regularly and advise us of any unusual activity immediately.”


WHEN conman Wayne Gouveia asked Leanne McCarthy if she wanted to watch the film Catch Me If You Can she thought it was just because he fancied a night in.

But the 25-year-old fraudster was actually picking up tips on how to become a more successful conman — including impersonating an MI5 agent.The 2002 film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, follows the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr, a successful con artist who impersonates an airline pilot, an FBI agent, a doctor, a lawyer and a professor.

Miss McCarthy said: “He used to have an obsession with the film. He said he did not understand how someone could go out in the street and mug an old lady and get a community sentence but someone who committed fraud which did not hurt anyone could end up in jail.”

Shop assistant Miss McCarthy dated Gouveia for about a year.

After showering her with expensive gifts, Gouveia said he had so much money because he was actually an undercover agent sent to foil a plot to kill her. He also faked a burglary at their Spanish holiday apartment, made Miss McCarthy sign a bogus copy of the Official Secrets Act and took her on fake missions.

She said: “I think he just gets a thrill out of living some sort of fantasy life.

“I was taken for a complete ride.”