The four women lost just over £30,000 combined due to their relationships with Lee Farline, according to prosecutor Gabrielle Wilks.
Farline, a 47-year-old North Yorkshire fraudster, deceived them by claiming to be a successful financial businessman who could double their money in a short period of time. In reality, he did not invest any of the funds and spent the money on himself, including a £1,400 holiday.
The consequences of his actions led the women to lose accommodation, a job, an inheritance from their mother, or enter into a years-long debt repayment arrangement. They now struggle to trust others.
One of the victims stated, “He took away the only thing I had left from my mother. To say I was devastated is an understatement.”
Another victim said, “I never thought he would be so dishonest.”
Farline pleaded guilty to seven charges of fraud by false representation totaling £25,000 and was sentenced to 32 months in jail by Judge Deborah Sherwin at York Crown Court.
Farline faces compensation proceedings later this year and has expressed remorse for his actions, claiming that his childhood abuse and low self-esteem were contributing factors.
He had been comfort eating and now had thyroid problems.
He had wanted to be liked and to portray himself as a successful person and was remorseful for his actions.
Members of his family would suffer if he was jailed. He wanted to repay the money and had already started to pay small amounts.
Ms Wilks said one woman told police Farline had only started to repay her after police became involved.
Farline carried out the scams between December 1, 2018, and April 1, 2020. He met two of the women through dating websites.
One of them needed money for a small catering business she was setting up and another was living on benefits when he persuaded them to let him have their money.
One he persuaded to hand over money with false claims that his internet was broken and other household emergencies.
When they tried to get their money back, he came up with a long list of excuses including claiming he was stuck in Hong Kong by the Covid lockdown.
Mr Minnikin said Farline had some savings but no other assets.