Opera singer who tricked a wealthy widow is jailed for three years

Opera singer, 48, who tricked a wealthy widow, 66, out of £105,000 by telling her it was for charity while using the cash to fund his gambling habit and buy classic cars is jailed for three years

  • Andrew Amdur fleeced Elizabeth Shaheen after befriending her in 2017
  • 48-year-old told her he would organise a party in memory of her late husband 
  • He instead gave the back his own details and had the money put into his account
  • Amdur took money which had been meant to go towards payment for a harp 

Andrew Amdur (pictured above) denied but was convicted of two counts of fraud by false representation and a single count of theft

An opera singer who tricked a wealthy widow out of £105,000 by telling her it was for charity has been jailed for three years.

Andrew Amdur fleeced Elizabeth Shaheen out of the cash by stating he would make a payment to charity on her behalf and that he would also organise a party in memory of her late husband.

Mrs Shaheen, 66, then transferred £80,000 to what Amdur, 48, had told her was for the London Black Cabs Charity, a real charity for underprivileged children.

However scheming Amdur had given the bank his own account details and then went on to steal a further £25,000 from the grieving widow, which was meant to go towards the payment of a harp.

Today, jurors at Southwark Crown Court found the opera star, who has sung at Twickenham rugby internationals, guilty of two counts of fraud and a further count of theft.

Following his sentencing, Amdur, who claimed to have previously performed for the Queen told his mother from the dock that he had been sentenced for a crime ‘I have not committed’.

He added: ‘They cannot take my soul’.

Jailing him, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said that he had placed his family at the centre of the fragile woman’s life.

‘I have no doubt that, having befriended her, you were then just waiting to seize an opportunity to steal from her.

Amdur (pictured above) said in court that he was being sentenced for a ‘crime I didn’t commit’ 

‘That opportunity arrived on 28 August 2017. Mrs Shaheen had taken you and your daughter out to lunch in a restaurant as she very often did.

‘The jury by their verdicts were sure that what was said in that recorded telephone call proved that you had encouraged Mrs Shaheen to make a hugely generous donation of £80,000 to the Black Cab Charity, a donation which you then caused to be paid into your own account for your own use.’

Judge Loraine-Smith then added that the vulnerability of Mrs Shaheen and his manipulative skills were both glaringly obvious from the telephone call.

‘The money was immediately spent by you on gambling, which I now learn is an addiction from which you suffer, and other things within about a month you had got through it all and you wanted more.

‘You have shown remorse for what you did. The conduct of your defence made it abundantly clear that you never felt any.’

The court heard how the widow’s husband died in 2012, leaving her ‘utterly devastated and constrained by grief’.

The L’Escargot restaurant where Mrs Shaheen had taken Amdur and his daughter on several occasions 

‘It would seem that people found her charming, eccentric, generous, erratic perhaps – and you may take the view, having heard it all – vulnerable,’ said prosecutor James Marsland.

Amdur met Mrs Shaheen by chance in the summer of 2017 and soon became a regular visitor to her home in Maida Vale.

The victim would later say Amdur and his family ‘adopted me’ and would come and sing and dance for her at the flat.

Mrs Shaheen told the jury that she had clearly been unwell during their relationship and even suggested that the crooked tenor had drugged her.

Amdur had conned Mrs Shaheen and made her believe that her funds were going to a good cause

During this time, Mrs Shaheen told Amdur that she wanted to make a donation to the London Black Cabs charity to take underprivileged children to Disneyland Paris in memory of her late husband.

But Amdur transferred the money into his bank account, claiming £10,000 was for a party at L’Escargot Restaurant in Soho.

Mr Marsland told the jury that the money went nowhere near a charity and Amdur told police that he had spent it on classic cars.

Mrs Shaheen also withdrew £25,000 in cash and was seen on CCTV handing it to Amdur in a bank in Pall Mall with the money supposedly going towards a women’s harp.

But police later found an 8ft instrument in a Big Yellow Storage unit that had been rented under Amdur’s own name.

Investigators found Amdur had only spent £9,750 on the harp from the £25,000 he was said to have received.

Mrs Shaheen said the singer ‘put me in a mental state that was beyond comprehension.’

She added that when she called him to ask for her money back he laughed at her down the phone.

‘The most despicable part of this is they used a children’s charity for under privileged children to defraud me,’ Mrs Shaheen said.

Southwark Crown Court (pictured above) heard that when Mrs Shaheen called Amdur to get his money back, that he laughed at her

Amdur insisted that he had been employed by the widow as a chaperone on £7,000 a month, adding: ‘I’m not heartless, I liked Mrs Shaheen very much..’

He said: ‘I worked very, very hard and it was very exhausting. This is a lady that liked leisure, she enjoyed life. She liked to go to salubrious locations.’

Amdur explained that he believed the £80,000 was payment for his chaperoning services and became ‘embarrassed’ when Mrs Shaheen told the bank that the money was for charity.

He said that he runs several classic cars and had spent the money on that.

Amdur’s mother could be heard muttering from the public gallery: ‘I can’t believe it, what a wicked woman’ as sentence was passed.

Amdur from Golders Green, denied but was convicted of two counts of fraud by false representation and a single count of theft.

He was jailed for three years.

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