A fraudster who showed ‘jaw-dropping arrogance and cruelty’ has been jailed for six years after he fleeced his lover for £100,000 while continuing to live a double life with his wife and family.
Greg Wilson, from Thornby in Teeside, invented the persona of James Scott, a heroic firefighter who not only saved lives but had inherited a £2million fortune from his sports agent mother.
Mother-of-two Coleen Greenwood, 41, fell in love with the convincing charmer after the pair met on Match.com, arranging a lavish wedding and falling pregnant with his ‘miracle baby’ when she believed he had undergone a vasectomy.
Wilson, 39, manipulated Ms Greenwood’s trust to con her and her sister Karen Crear out of their life’s savings.
Greg Wilson, from Thornby in Teeside, invented the persona of James Scott, a firefighter who not only saved lives but had inherited a £2million fortune from his sports agent mother (Pictured: Wilson with Coleen Greenwood)
As he was jailed today for six years, Ms Greenwood said she still suffers from anxiety and difficulty sleeping as the experience created ‘long lasting effects on mine and my family’s lives’.
‘Saturday 25th February 2017 should have been my wedding day at Wynyard Hall,’ she said in an impact statement.
‘Instead, after being confronted with the truth, James deserted me and our child, handing him through a window to my daughter and driving off saying he would only be a minute. Our baby and I haven’t seen him since.
‘The shock, hurt and disbelief I’ve felt from this day is extremely hard to put into words. It felt like it was happening to someone else.
Mos Greenwood, 41, fell in love with the convincing charmer, arranging a lavish wedding and falling pregnant with his ‘miracle baby’ when she believed he had undergone a vasectomy
Pictured: Fraudster Wilson, who was jailed for six years at Newcastle Crown Court today
‘The whole fraud has created long lasting effects on mine and my family’s lives. I continue to suffer from anxiety and still have difficulty sleeping. I experience incidents where I believe I see James in everyday life.’
The astonishing lies Wilson told Ms Greenwood included:
- Claims he had inherited £2million from his sports agent mother who died in the south of France – when in fact she was a nursing home worker from Sunderland
- That he was a heroic firefighter named James Scott who leapt from a burning building with a baby in his arms – he was, in fact, unemployed
- He told his lover he was working for Durham Fire and Rescue Service when in reality he lived half the week with his wife in Darlington
- The fraudster also did not have two daughters who lived with their mother in Texas as he claimed, but three sons in County Durham
- Wilson told Ms Greenwood he had had a vasectomy before she fell pregnant with his so-called ‘miracle baby’
Newcastle Crown Court heard how when Wilson realised his lies had been rumbled he handed their son to Ms Greenwood through a window at their home and drove away saying he would be a few minutes – but never returned.
Ms Greenwood then discovered he was not a heroic firefighter who had leapt from a burning building with a baby in his arms as he had claimed.
Neither was he divorced with two beloved daughters who were living with their mother in Texas.
In fact, he was unemployed and lived half the week with his wife and three sons in Darlington when she thought he was working shifts for Durham Fire and Rescue Service.
The sports agent mother he falsely claimed had left him £2million on her death in a villa in the south of France was alive and well, working in a nursing home and living in Sunderland.
Wilson admitted eight counts of fraud, two counts of forgery, one of making a false instrument and one of converting criminal property.
Wilson, 39, manipulated Ms Greenwood’s trust to con her and her sister Karen Crear out of their life’s savings
The court heard that Wilson walked away with £100,000 in cash and services from his fraud, most of it from Ms Greenwood and her sister
Jailing him for six years, Judge James Adkin said: ‘The background to this offending shows frankly jaw-dropping arrogance and cruelty in the way that you so persistently and wickedly deceived your victims, particularly Coleen Greenwood.
‘For that cruelty and greed you will now be severely punished.
‘You lied about your name, occupation, family details, marital status and quite bizarrely faked a vasectomy.
‘You feigned other illness to postpone marriage to prolong your frauds. You even had a child with Miss Greenwood.
‘So not only did you defraud her but you subjected her to calculated emotional manipulation in order to be able to extract money from her and others.
‘When you were confronted about what you had done you did not have the courage to stay or apologise, you simply drove off out of Miss Greenwood’s life and never returned, seemingly without a care for her or for your own son, who by then had become attached to you.
‘You have not had any contact with either of them since 2017.
‘Coleen Greenwood accepted what you told her and essentially invested her life in you, nevertheless you used the trust she placed in you to defraud her and to dramatically affect her life.’
The court heard that Wilson walked away with £100,000 in cash and services from his fraud, most of it from Ms Greenwood and her sister, but he also defrauded businesses, charities and the Newcastle Falcons basketball team.
Pictured: A faked bank statement showing apparent transactions from the bank account of ‘James Scott’, the alias of Greg Wilson
He used the names of Sunderland football stars Jack Rodwell and Vito Mannone as false references in a fake property venture he set up, the court was told.
Wilson came into Ms Greenwood’s life in September 2014 when he met her through the dating app Match.com.
He claimed to be James Scott and told her he was a heroic fireman, showing her a thank you card from a grateful mother, telling his lover he had leapt from a blazing building with her baby in his arms, breaking his back in the process.
Ms Greenwood fell for him and they became a couple but when she fell pregnant by him in March 2015 it was a shock and they agreed to have a termination.
The following month Wilson pretended to go for a vasectomy, returning to the home in County Durham they were sharing with his genitals bandaged.
To her shock she fell pregnant again in September 2016, falling for his explanation that their infant son was a ‘miracle baby’ who had been born despite overwhelming odds.
The child was born at 23 weeks by caesarian section in a traumatic birth that threatened both mother and baby.
Wilson used the baby’s birth to cement his relationship with Ms Greenwood and proposed to her, arranging a wedding at the Wynyard Hall venue.
But he twice called off their big day on invented excuses. On the first occasion he claimed to have testicular cancer, showing his fiance false hospital records.
On the second occasion he said he had to fly to Texas to bring over his daughters for the wedding, returning without them.
He said their mother would not allow them to come to the UK and that he was too distraught to get married without them.
The second cancellation of the wedding prompted Ms Crear and her husband Ryan to start investigating his background and to their horror they discovered the wedding had never been booked.
From that point the sisters discovered everything that Wilson had told them from minute one had been a scam.
The court heard the litany of fraud and lies told by Wilson.
He used faked emails and references from made up partners to sucker the sisters into giving him cash to set up a boutique hotel on Newcastle Quayside which was to be called @Scotts.
He then set up another firm using faked documents called Gemini Property Services, which he was to set up using his mother’s £2m inheritance.
Using a raft of faked references from previous clients – including the footballers – he convinced the sister to resign their secure jobs and join him, handing over £58,000 to invest in a company that never existed.
Wilson also used fake documents to try to buy a £1.6m home on the exclusive Ramside Park estate in Durham. Estate agents and solicitors who worked on the sale, which was aborted at the 11th hour.
He also conned Newcastle Falcons out of £9,500 by using lies and faked references to join their elite Platinum Club, which he never paid a penny for.
Wilson also admitted falsely registering his son’s birth with the father being the fictitious James Scott.
And he dishonestly acquired £10,000 from Ms Greenwood to buy a Mini Cooper – the car he eventually drove off in on February 25 2017, never to return.
His barrister Julian White said his offending was ‘incomprehensible’ and that throughout it he must have been aware that it would unravel and he would be caught.
Coleen Greenwood’s victim impact statement in full
It’s been more than five years since James Scott first came into my life and three years since his lies and manipulation started to unravel.
Saturday 25th February 2017 should have been my wedding day at Wynyard Hall. Instead, after being confronted with the truth, James deserted me and our child, handing him through a window to my daughter and driving off saying he would only be a minute. Our baby and I haven’t seen him since.
The shock, hurt and disbelief I’ve felt from this day is extremely hard to put into words. It felt like it was happening to someone else.
The complete devastation to discover that my whole life and plans for the future were built on deceit and lies is heartbreaking. The following days I found it almost impossible to carry on and I barely ate or slept. The minimal sleep I did get was filled with horrendous nightmares.
As time progressed and the reality set in that James Scott, the man I loved, never existed, felt to me like a bereavement.
These emotions were counterbalanced by the increasing feeling of stupidity and humiliation I felt.
Telephone calls and letters arrived chasing debts that James had incurred and I found myself explaining the situation over and over again. This was embarrassing and I felt to the outside worlds that I was a complete and utter gullible fool.
I have children from a previous relationship and felt like my family was complete. James decided to have a vasectomy as I was fearful of falling pregnant again.
James told me he attended hospital to have this done. I saw him after the operation and saw bruising and dressings on his penis. I was also shown a medical report which stated he now had nil sperm count.
Two months after seeing this report I fell pregnant again. The feelings of horror and disbelief were staggering and I couldn’t comprehend how it could have happened.
I was actually horrified that people would think I’d been unfaithful. James on the other hand took the news well stating there was a one in 200 chance of pregnancy after a vasectomy. We continued with the pregnancy which caused me many health complications.
My waters broke at 23 weeks and when I delivered our baby I needed an emergency C section. I nearly died during this and my baby was put on a life support machine. We were told his health deteriorated and there was a chance he wouldn’t make it.
This all added to the trauma for me to know James faked the vasectomy risking mine and our baby’s life sickens me to the stomach. The thought that my two older daughters could have been left without a mother is horrifying. To be manipulated to this extent by James is something I will never be able to come to terms with.
I’m not the same person I was before James came into my life. I believed I was sharing my life with a wonderful, caring man, a true hero who risked his life as a firefighter.
I heard a story of James jumping out of the window of a burning building with a small child, saving his life and breaking his own back during the fall. I even saw a thank you card from the boy, and texts of gratitude from the child’s parents.
To learn these are all lies and James was never a firefighters shows what a devious and manipulative person he is. I now find it hard to trust my own instincts and always over analyse situations.
I worry this had made me cynical and unapproachable to people, but I can’t control these feelings. I also left my job during this deception, which has knocked my confidence and status.
Finding out that James was a fraud was a huge blow to me. Added to this fact that he defrauded my sister out of a huge amount of money put a huge strain on my relationship.
I’ve seen her struggle both financially and emotionally and despite this, she still managed to look after me throughout these awful times. My two daughters regarded James as a stepdad and a friend.
To find out they had also been part of the fraud and manipulation was horrendous. It’s horrible to see my daughters lose trust in people.
The whole fraud has created long lasting effects on mine and my family’s lives. I continue to suffer from anxiety and still have difficulty sleeping. I experience incidents where I believe I see James in everyday life.
Looking to the future the consequences of what James did to us is complicated. Our child’s birth certificate has a father’s name that never existed and I’ve found no way of changing it.
One of the hardest things I will have to do is, at some point in the future, I will have to sit down with my wonderful son and explain the horrendous truth about his father’s deception.
This is a task I wouldn’t wish on anyone. This will have to be done with the tremendous support I have received from my lovely family whose support I couldn’t have done this without through this devastating time in my life.