Belfast Telegraph

Conman who stole £4.5k from Northern Ireland fiancee and family loses appeal

By George Jackson

A swindler who conned over £4,500 from a Northern Ireland woman and her family to pay for flights to their wedding in Texas has failed to reduce his jail term.

Matt Jaeger was sentenced to 12 months after pleading guilty to five charges of fraud by false representation.

The victims were his then fiancee, two members of her family and two credit card companies. The offences took place between July and November 2010.

Jaeger (50), from Albany Street Lane in Edinburgh, persuaded them to hand over money to enable him to book flights to Texas for the wedding, supposedly on a large ranch he owned near Fort Worth.

Jaeger had met his victim in February 2010 when he arrived at her home in Londonderry to interview her son who had been offered a job in Scotland.

The relationship developed and, in July of that year, Jaeger proposed to her and she accepted.

Jaeger told his victim that their wedding would take place at his ranch in Texas and the wedding date was fixed for November 19, 2010.

He claimed a friend in the travel industry could arrange cut-price flights to Texas if the flights were paid for in cash. His fiancee and two of her relatives handed him £4,560.

The prosecutor said as the wedding date approached the victim's brother became suspicious as no flight tickets had arrived.

A week before the planned wedding the victims realised that no flights had been booked.

Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey said the victim, in her victim impact report, had difficulties with confidence and dignity as a result of Jaeger's criminality and felt emotions akin to a bereavement.

"A death would have been easier to deal with. The man I loved was a crook who stole not only from me but also from my family", the victim wrote.

Appealing against the 12-month sentence, barrister Stuart Magee said the original sentencing should have taken into consideration Jaeger's pleas of guilty and his previously clear criminal record.

Rejecting the appeal Judge McCaffrey said Jaeger's offending was despicable in that it was a breach of his victims' trust.

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