Woman who conned family in £35,000 bogus Hollywood actress fraud told to pay back the cash

A woman who conned her family in a £35,000 bogus Hollywood actress fraud has been told to pay back the cash.

Ann Dunlop claimed a woman she knew was being lined up for million pound contracts.

The 68-year-old convinced brother David Bunton, 51, to hand the woman cash to help her make the breakthrough.

She claimed the woman was mingling with A-listers such as Leonardo Di Caprio and Beyonce as well as being managed by US entertainment executive Irving Azoff.

Ann Dunlop at Glasgow Sheriff Court on trial for obtaining money from her brother David Bunton on the pretext of furthering the showbiz career of woman she knew

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Anne Dunlop claimed the woman was mingling with A-listers such as Beyonce

Anne Dunlop claimed the woman was mingling with A-listers such as Beyonce

David Bunton at his sisters trial, Glasgow Sheriff Court

David Bunton at Glasgow Sheriff Court 

Dunlop, of Beauly, Inverness-shire, also span a web of lies to her sister Jean and her husband Steve Allan.

Mr Allan believed Dunlop and the woman had ‘Champagne on tap’ at the plush London home they shared.

Dunlop later requested he and his wife pay her and the woman’s gas and council tax bills as she did not have enough money.

First offender Dunlop was found guilty last month of defrauding her family a total of £35,368 at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Kevin McCarron said: ‘I’m driven to the conclusion that what she was telling her family was a work of fiction worthy of every one of the screenwriters or playwrights mentioned in this case.

‘It is clear she led her family down a merry dance through this episode.

‘She perpetrated a pretence that was clearly false to everyone.’

Sheriff McCarron deferred sentencing for 12 months and told her to pay back the cash to her family.

The court heard the woman had appeared in a non-speaking role in a BBC period drama as well as a TV show staring comedian Noel Fielding.

Mr Bunton – a chief executive of a life science company – was approached by Dunlop and the woman in March 2016 after he sold his business.

He stated that he handed over £5,000 to the pair in order for the actress to ‘build her career’.

Mr Bunton told the court that he was informed by Dunlop that the woman was being represented by Irving Azoff.

He said: ‘There was talk about meeting Beyonce and Jay Z…movies with Quentin Tarantino and Michael Keaton.

‘She went to the Oscars to make various connections.

‘Azoff was her manager, she met Leonardo Di Caprio and she was working on promotional activity for Chanel which would go alongside her movies.’

The family were also told the woman was set to star in a movie version of the musical Wicked directed by Tim Burton.

Mr Bunton said that he was unaware of the figure the woman was to receive but believed it was millions.

He handed over a further £27,000 to the pair as he heard that Dunlop and her husband who also lived with them were ‘struggling’.

He also footed a bill for their council tax and gas.

He was not paid back and his suspicions rose after the woman failed to appear in a Chanel Christmas advert in 2016.

Fears further heightened after he hired a private investigator to keep tabs on the woman.

He said: ‘[We wanted] To establish if there was a relationship with Irving Azoff and if it was true that she was an actor and was there any basis to what we had been told in previous months.’

Prosecutor Redmond Harris asked: ‘What do you know about the woman’s acting career?’

The witness replied: ‘From internet searching, there was no career to my knowledge.’

He and Dunlop’s brother-in-law Mr Allan, 66, claimed he was under the impression Dunlop and the woman were living a ‘movie type of lifestyle in London’.

Mr Allan recalled visiting the pair at their Notting Hill home for Dunlop’s 60th birthday party.

He said: ‘I had never seen so many bottles of Champagne…the Champagne was on tap there.’

Mr Allan stated that the woman shopped at Harrod’s and went to handbag stores in London.

He paid for Dunlop’s £600 gas bill in November 2016 before transferring £1,000 of his overdraft to her as ‘she said she didn’t have enough money’.

He claimed Dunlop told him that he would be repaid in two weeks.

Mr Allan added: ‘The explanation was there was a large sum of money in Coutts Bank but it was put in an investment fund and it was not available immediately but it would be sorted out.’

He said he was later told by Dunlop that Tim Burton had collected the woman’s bank cards and put them in a safe.

Mr Harris asked about his relationship with his wife’s family before the bank transfers.

He said: ‘I thought I had married into the Waltons. I didn’t know I had actually married into the Dingles.’

Dunlop told the court in her evidence that she believes the woman did star in the roles she had been informed about.

She claimed that she asked for money from her family as her husband became unwell and had to stop working.

Dunlop told the court that the ‘actress’ is to appear on a US TV show which she has filmed one episode of so far.

Kevin Banks, defending, asked if Dunlop and the woman want to pay Mr Bunton back.

She said: ‘Yes, as she is still due money from the film.’