LONELY and in love Michele Ross admits she was gullible.
The 69-year-old, who turns 70 this month, said she let the man who persuaded her to use her bank account for money laundering get the better of her.
Speaking to The News, Ross said: ‘In the light of day probably after all this I do feel I’ve been a victim. I was gullible enough to believe everything.
‘He said it wasn’t illegal but it just got the better of me.’
Ross, of Jason Place, Waterlooville, only met the man, who she describes as white and Polish, once in Southampton where he was based.
But their 45-minute date over drinks following their meeting on smooch.com was enough for her to fall in love. ‘That’s the only time that I met him,’ she said.
She added: ‘He was obviously aware I had to go to court but I haven’t heard anything since, I feel angry.’
Police said they fear that cash laundered through her bank account likely came from victims of fraud.
While Ross was duped by a man into using her account and taking out loans, a detective said her actions ensured the misery of others.
Detective Constable Nick Wright said: ‘There’s a lot of fraudsters out there who are preying on people like Miss Ross to launder criminal funds.
‘Unfortunately, those funds are from victims themselves, the elderly and the vulnerable. Essentially what she’s doing is ensuring the ongoing misery of others.’
He added: ‘It was recognised that potentially she would have certainly been considered a victim of a scam and the warning was there to trying to protect her and further victims.
‘But unfortunately she failed to heed the warning and it’s why she’s in court.
‘It’s a rising trend with these fraudsters and unfortunately there’s going to be more.’