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20 June 2013, 18:33
A fraudster has admitted luring women into having sex with him by claiming they would be paid up to £15,000 in university scholarships.
Mark Lancaster, 40, from Waterlooville, Hampshire admitted voyeurism and trafficking women for sexual exploitation at Southwark Crown Court today.
His scam was exposed after an investigation by The Independent newspaper into his website sponsorascholar.co.uk.
Lancaster set up the site that claimed to offer thousands of pounds to poor students in return for sex, but the sponsors did not exist.
Using the name Emma Forester, he would reply to interested women saying that a man called John would call them.
More than 40 people contacted the site, and Lancaster actually met with a small number of women in a flat he had rented.
At least once he fitted hidden cameras in the bedroom and bathroom and secretly made a sex tape of one of the women.
He claimed the sexual activity was the practical assessment of the interview process.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland said:
"Mark Lancaster targeted vulnerable students in an elaborate and sophisticated scam.
"He set up 'Sponsor a Scholar' purporting to be a respected academic. A number of women are believed to have contacted the site.
"He deceived a student and sexually exploited her for his own gratification. He covertly filmed sexual acts without the knowledge of the victim and continued to maintain the pretence that his business was legitimate.
"After this encounter he was exposed by an undercover journalist and the Metropolitan Police followed up this news report.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the victim for her bravery and resilience and appeal for any victims of this or similar crimes to come forward. We hope that the victim takes some comfort from today's guilty plea.''
He will be sentenced on July 19 for voyeurism in September 2012 and trafficking people within the UK for sexual exploitation in the same month.