Tinder fraudster used male model pictures to ‘lure’ women into dating him

A serial Tinder fraudster who posed as a famous surgeon to scam dates has been jailed for a third time.

Amir Tofangsazan, 33, has previous convictions for scamming women on dating apps and websites including Plenty of Fish, Tinder and Bumble in 2015 and 2019.

Tofangsazan’s ‘catfishing’ method involved creating a number of fake profiles using images and names of “professionals” including a model, barrister and surgeon to “lure” women into dating him and loaning him money.

A sentencing hearing at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday heard Tofangsazan was previously made subject to a ten-year order designed to stop him from scamming more women by stopping him from joining dating apps.

Within days of being released on licence for that sentence, he had contacted three previous victims but with a new profile and pictures, pretending to be a respected international trauma surgeon at University College Hospital in London.

Prosecutor Helen Owen said: “These are people who had already succumbed to the defendant’s deception in the past and so he knew them to be vulnerable and also potentially an easy target.”

He admitted six counts of breaching the criminal behaviour order last November.

Jailing him for three years, Judge John Dodd said: “It’s particularly sinister in my view that you targeted those women knowing they had previously fallen for your deception and you were now using a new false person to target them each again as if they haven’t suffered enough already.

“This was blatant and considered disgraceful behaviour in breaching a protective order imposed as part of your sentence that was designed and intended to prevent others falling victim to your cruel deceits.

“The breach in fact came to light because by one of those strange flukes of life, the photos you exchanged with one of your new intended contacts actually contained an image of somebody that the women knew, and she made the connection eventually and matters were reported to the police.”

The ten-year order banned Tofangsazan from owning a phone or laptop without telling police, and from signing up to dating apps like Tinder.

The court heard police found he had two unregistered phones and a laptop, profiles on Tinder and Bumble and had moved into a house with a girlfriend without informing his offender manager.

The prosecutor said Tofangsazan had a preference for using images of a male model because of their “high success rate” in scamming women.

In what a judge described as “extremely uncomfortable reading”, Tofangsazan would also tell the women he had fantasies of them having sex with his friend, before sending a genuine photo of himself and meeting up with the women to have sex.

Judge Dodd also heard evidence of Tofangsazan’s previous convictions for identity thefts dating back to 2008.

It was said Tofangsazan was dismissed from the Financial Times for lying about how many tickets he had sold for a conference, and also pretended to be the company director of a security company he had been dismissed from.

The court heard this included setting up fake interviews with women for a secretarial role, before trying to invite them for a second interview over drinks.

Tofangsazan was jailed for seven years and nine months in 2015 for scamming ten women on Plenty of Fish, eharmony and Lovestruck, with one woman scammed out of up to £15,000.

He then smuggled a phone into an open prison, and scammed three women out of another £5,300 in total from his prison cell.

He was jailed for a further three years and handed the court order, which he has now been sentenced for breaching, in January 2019.

According to a psychiatric report, Tofangsazan exhibits a “number of persistent problematic personality traits”, and has an “ambivalence for women – on the one hand desiring closeness but on the other hand feeling hostility”.

Bethan Rogers, defending, said: “There seems to be some kind of compulsion for this defendant, he doesn’t seem to be able to stop himself.

“He’s someone who is deeply unhappy and very isolated. He’s not trying to fake feelings of empathy.

“He’s aware there are some profound limitations to his character that have led in part to his offending behaviour.”

Jailing him, Judge Dodd said the offending was “utterly abhorrent behaviour, striking at the very souls of your victims whom you have treated very cruelly and with a measure of contempt”.

He said: “I understand the practice is referred to as ‘catfishing’. You behaved in an utterly despicable and in some respects perverted manner towards at least some of those women.

“What I have read about the criminality reveals to me the type of awful behaviour and the serious harm resulting from it.

“What you have somehow persuaded at least one of your victims to do plainly for your own sexual pleasure – it makes for extremely uncomfortable reading and makes you to be, in my view at least, a danger to women.

“The sentence I impose today I hope will make it absolutely clear to you that you have no choice but to comply with it and to obey the law.

“It causes me great concern that you clearly have not learnt any lessons of significance nor greatly changed your spots.”