Adam Pattison led cat lovers to believe that his three cats had died in a house fire. They started an online crowdfunding page on his behalf and raised £2500 from cat lovers. It transpired that Mr Pattison had lied about his cats. He has been found guilty in the criminal courts.
Adam Pattison, 34, lives in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK. He had joined a Facebook group called Kings Heath Cat Club. They had 3500 members.
He told a friend that on July 15th last year he had a house fire. He said that the fire had killed his three cats. The kindhearted members of the Kings Heath Cat Club decided to set up a GoFundMe online appeal which successfully raised almost £2500. After the deduction of the website’s fees Mr Pattison received £2228 in August last year.
He was found out and charged with fraud. He appeared before the magistrates court. The prosecutor said:
“It came to light however that Pattison had lied and had not lost cats… He preyed upon the kindness of strangers.”
In defence, Pattison said that he had told a small lie which had got out of hand. As an outside observer of this, I don’t think it was that small a lie because, the way I see it, he could only have made that lie with the intention of gaining the sympathy of other members of the cat club in the expectation that they might start an online funding page. It could and probably was argued that the lie was actually a fraudulent attempt to get money out of nice people. But, however, I did not attend the hearing and am therefore simply speculating.
As it happens, his cats were safe with his girlfriend at the time in question. Pattison pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud. He was sentenced to 12 months community service and ordered to do a hundred hours unpaid work. The court costs were £185 which he has to pay. It came out that Mr Pattison had been dishonest in the past and has a previous conviction.
Mr Pattison’s defence counsel said that he was depressed at the time of the offence due to a relationship breakup and had been in hospital after suffering an injury where he sent a text message to a friend who set up the online funding page. The thing got out of hand and I suppose he did not want to stop it. He is remorseful.
Comment: this is just another example of how nice people who like cats can be conned out of money or conned in general. A typical type of fraudulent behaviour to which they are subject is normally in cat rescue situations in which cat hoarders act as foster carers to get cats off cat lovers. Cat lovers can be particularly susceptible to frauds regarding cat welfare.