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Swedish courts clears man of fraud – because he was in love

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Swedish courts clears man of fraud – because he was in love
The man was naïve and gullible, said the court. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
08:11 CET+01:00
A man who tried to cash counterfeit traveller's cheques in southern Sweden has been cleared of fraud – because he was in love, the court ruled.

The middle-aged man had made contact with a woman in her mid-20s in Belgium online. After six months of chatting he fell in love and the couple were discussing marriage and a new life together.

Then the woman told him she had fallen ill. Meanwhile she said her father died and left her an inheritance in the form of traveller's cheques, which she was unable to cash herself because she was in hospital.

The man agreed to help and cashed two of the cheques at a bank in Helsingborg, worth 500 euro a piece. The following day he tried to cash eight cheques at another bank, but the staff got suspicious and called the police.

Police found that all cheques were counterfeit and the man was charged with fraud and attempted gross fraud. However, on Tuesday Helsingborg District Court took pity on him and cleared him of all charges.

"That [he] started a relationship with a significantly younger woman and decided to live together without having met in real life is not something unique to him," read the court's ruling, seen by The Local.

"[He] was very much in love and excited that he and the woman would finally be together. In such a situation it is easy to act in a naïve and gullible way."

Prosecutor Eleonora Johansson however said she did not believe the man's story.

"This story contains quite a few oddities," she told regional newspaper Kvällsposten, which was first to report the story.

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