Wishaw fantasist who forced woman to hand him wages claiming the cash belonged to gangsters, has avoided jail
Derek Smart warned the frightened female that her car would be torched by "people you don't mess around with" unless the £2500 was paid.
But Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that Smart, 33, made up the story because he needed the money to prop up his struggling central heating business.
He admitted a charge of threatening or abusive behaviour.
Miriam Farooq, prosecuting, said Smart had been dating the victim's friend at the time of the scam in March last year.
The woman had been in a dispute with her former employer over unpaid wages and Smart, of Wishaw, helped her recover £2500.
Ms Farooq stated: "On March 7 the accused told her that she would have to transfer the money she'd received to people who 'were after' her former employer.
"Smart indicated that he had been phoned by an individual described as an organised criminal in the Glasgow area.
"He said the woman had no choice but to give the money to this person otherwise her car and her friend's vehicle would be set on fire.
"He then told her 'These are people you don't mess around with'."
The court heard Smart offered to act as a go-between. The woman transferred £2000 to his business account and Smart's girlfriend paid the remaining £500.
TURN TO PAGE 3
Smart later told the victim 'I'm not a good guy. I do bad things to people and I'm involved in a lot of dodgy stuff''.
She told police she transferred the money because she felt "pressurised and genuinely scared".
Over the following days, the two women became suspicious about Smart.
On social media they found that he used a number of aliases and had another girlfriend whom he'd been with for two years.
The victim contacted the police and confronted Smart who "made admissions" about what he'd done.
Defence solicitor Diarmid Bruce said Smart has mental health issues and described what he'd told the women as "fantasy".
The lawyer stated: "There was no basis to it. His lies spiralled out of control. It was all nonsense though he accepts what he said caused alarm to these women.
"He employs six people in his gas business and was having financial difficulties at the time.
“He’s genuinely sorry for upsetting these women.”
Sheriff Linda Nicolson ordered Smart to pay the women back the £2500 within 28 days.
She also imposed non-harassment orders, banning him from any contact with them for three years.
Smart will also be confined to his home between 8pm and 6am each day under an 11-week electronic tagging order.